33 Years Ago, NASA's Hubble Launched. These Are Its Most Breathtaking Photos
In honor of the telescope’s big birthday, NASA released a new, magical image, and it’s a great time to look back at some of the other photos from Hubble.
Thirty-three years ago, on April 25, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was first deployed and a new era of astronomy was born. And over the past three decades and change, we’ve seen some incredible images from regions of space that are so far away, and so massive, it’s hard to conceptualize.
In honor of the telescope’s big birthday, NASA released a new, magical image — and what better time than now to look back at some of the other incredible photos Hubble has given the world, and look back.
One day before it was actually released into space, on April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was road aboard the space shuttle Discovery. And then, the first image taken from the telescope was on May 20, 1990, and a few months later, the telescope observed the first really cool thing from space — the remnants of Supernova 1987A — and images have been getting better and better since.
NASA Hubble Telescope’s 33rd Anniversary Photo, Explained
The new photo released by NASA taken from Hubble shows the star-forming region NGC 1333, a nebula that is approximately 960 light-years away.
“To capture this image, Hubble peered through a veil of dust on the edge of a giant cloud of cold molecular hydrogen – the raw material for fabricating new stars and planets under the relentless pull of gravity,” NASA explains.
The bright colors and swirls in the image are different elements and a whole lot of dust. The different colors note the different elements surrounding the area. For example, the blue hues are from fine dust scattering the starlight, and the reddish glow happens as dust floats through ionized hydrogen.
“These stars are surrounded by circumstellar disks, which may eventually produce planetary systems and powerful magnetic fields that direct two parallel beams of hot gas deep into space, like a double light saber from science fiction films,” NASA adds.
The coolest images ever taken from the Hubble Space Telescope:
An Intriguing Active Galaxy
This space object is known as Z 229-15, which is approximately 390 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. This unique area is an area of interest to astronomers because it’s not been easy to classify since it could be called a “Seyfert galaxy that contains a quasar, and that, by definition, hosts an AGN,” NASA explains. You can read more about this incredible image here.
This Majestic Barred Spiral
This is NGC 6956, “a barred spiral galaxy,” and it’s the most common type of galaxy and what many of us think about when we think of galaxy shape. NGC 6956 is approximately 214 million light-years away in the constellation Delphinus. You can read more about this incredible image here.
This Celestial Fireworks Display
This supernova is considered the “brightest supernova remnant in the Large Magellanic Cloud,” a small Milky Way galaxy in the Dorado constellation. Known as DEM L 190, it is 160,000 light-years from Earth. You can read more about this incredible image here.
A Black Hole Devouring A Star
A star called AT2022dsb went too close to a black hole, which is what happened; the black hole devoured the star. The clouds you see are gas, the only thing left from the star that was swallowed up. You can read more about this incredible image here.
Star-Studded Cosmic Cloud
This bright beauty is NGC 6530, a young cluster of stars in the constellation of Sagittarius. It’s 4,350 light-years away from us on Earth, and the swirls of majestic colors are “a gigantic cloud of interstellar dust and gas.” You can read more about this incredible image here.
An Astronomical Explosion
This bright young star is over 9,000 light-years away in the constellation Taurus. This object is known as IRAS 05506+2414, and astronomers are interested in this star because it “may be an example of an explosive event caused by the disruption of a massive young star system.” You can read more about this incredible image here.
NASA also put together an easy-to-read slide of the history of the telescope from the first day it was conceptualized to send a telescope into space in the ‘40s through every discovery it has made up to date. You and the kids can check that out on NASA’s website.
To see more photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, head over to NASA’s image gallery.