Eye In Space: Celebrate The 21st Birthday Of The Hubble Space Telescope With Images

If the Cosmos is the place of all things beautiful and unusual, the Hubble Space telescope (known simply as Hubble’ or HST) is the ultimate eye to see it with. Launched on 20th April, 1990, aboard the Discovery space shuttle by NASA, as the best of the space-based optical telescopes, Hubble has reached out to all.

Hubble’s images have filled the hard disks of active researchers and eager school students alike, and these have endeared the large floating eye in space to millions worldwide. It has captured stunning, but violent galaxy collisions, seen never-before seen nebular formations, glimpsed the merging of galactic black holes and captured the awe-inspiring and data rich alleys of star-forming nurseries, all the while enthralling us and challenging our own perception of the vastness of the universe. In fact, the word Hubble’ today bears more resonance with the telescope rather than the famed astronomer, Edwin Hubble, after whom it is named.

Hubble also happens to be the only telescope that was serviced by astronauts in space. When Hubble started acquiring images, a flaw was found in the positioning of the main mirror. A collective sigh and gasp throughout the astronomy fraternity around the world was followed by a daring and successful mission by NASA technicians, which involved them going into space and correcting the incorrect alignment of the main mirror. Hubble has never looked back since.

Enjoy the brilliant images below (they may take a second to load). Don’t forget to wish a very Happy Birthday to Hubble. To get more, click here.

Eagle nebula Pillars of Creation
Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula. (Note the step like profile. This is the Hubble Deep Field signature)


Giant Star
Light from V838 Red Supergiant Monocerotis
Auroras on Saturn
Auroras captured on Saturn
The Pleiades or Seven Sisters. It is a cluster made up of seven very bright young massive stars. They form a 'Question Mark' in the night sky.
gravitational lensing by galaxy
Gravitational Lensing by a galaxy. Relativity predicts that light bends when moving around a massive object like a galaxy. If we are lucky to get a proper position for a galaxy, the light from behind will bend so as to act like a lens, thus the name.

Astronomers released this brilliant new snap by Hubble in order to celebrate its 21st birthday. (Go to link for a bigger image!)

Arp 273
Interacting group of galaxies, Arp 273. (Stunning Rosette!)

Hubble is supposed to function till 2014, after which its successor the James Webb Space Telescope is expected to take over.

I expect a few moist eyes when Hubble is finally plunged into the ocean. I know that my eyes will be wet.


Published by

Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.