The Hubble Space Telescope was at the forefront of human knowledge and space exploration. Its stunning images managed to peer deep into the mysteries of outer space and provided us with unprecedented understanding as to the secrets of celestial objects. For the world-famous telescope’s 25th anniversary, Hubble’s head imaging scientist decided to share the best celestial images that the telescope ever captured with the world. A documentary is also being prepared for the occasion.
Named after Edwin Hubble, the famous astronomer, the Hubble Telescope was launched on the 24th of April 1990. It soon made history with its crystal-clear images of faraway galaxies and nebulae. And apart from these contributions to the scientific community, Hubble’s success was also attested to by its wide popularity among the public.
“The achievement of Hubble is even greater than the sum of all the science and wonder the mission has generated,” David Gaynes, the director of the upcoming documentary on Hubble’s feats, said.
Hubble’s data has represented the foundation for as many as 12,000 peer-reviewed, published scientific papers and this alone proves that it may have represented one of the greatest discovery machines to date. It helped revolutionize the public’s general understanding of the universe. At first, as with any new endeavor, there were hiccups. Hubble’s initial photographs were blurry because of the wrong specifications that its mirror had been configured to. Its primary mirror gathered and focused incoming light so that any imperfection would significantly lower the picture’s quality. Upgrades and repairs were performed and in 1993, corrective optics were also installed so that the telescope could finally become a sensation.
The “Pillars of Creation” soon came in 1995 and flooded the Internet, newspapers and magazines representing a never-before seen view of a universe we are a part of but so far away from.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula was another breathtaking image showcasing what seemed to be a psychedelic gas bubble. It clearly captured a number of up to 11 concentric rings surrounding a dying star much like our solar system’s star.
Saturn’s Moon Parade showcased another one-of-a-kind moment when four of Saturn’s moons paraded in front of the giant planet in 2009. Titan cast a massive shadow onto the planet’s surface while Mimas, a much smaller moon, was visible near Saturn’s ring plane.
For the 21st anniversary of Hubble, another show-stopping image was released showcasing a particularly photogenic galaxy group interacting. Two spiral galaxies, a larger and a smaller one, seem to be waltzing as their disks are tidally distorted into a rose-like shape.
The Hubble Space Telescope has examined all types of celestial wonders, from comets to asteroids, planets, moons, distant solar systems, galaxies and nebulae. It actually gazed all the way through the universe and into the beginnings of time, however, after the 2011 retirement of the shuttle fleet, Hubble will inevitably be lost as our unique window to the skies.
Image Source: Space Telescope