The Hubble Space Telescope turns 25 tomorrow and like many other science organizations, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite Hubble images over the years. Stay tuned to the bottom where we will reveal the official 25th anniversary image, unveiled by NASA and ESA just a few hours ago.
1. Mystic Mountain
|Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)|
|Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)|
Hubble has been instrumental in revealing the complexity of galaxy mergers across the universe, a process that is key to galaxy growth and evolution.
3. Black Hole Whirlpool
|Credit: L. Ferrarese (Johns Hopkins University) and NASA|
The physics of the plasma around black holes is still poorly understood and high-resolution images like this can help shed light on the extreme dynamics that can light up galaxies and power relativistic jets of plasma that extend hundreds of thousands of light years away from the black hole.
|Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Buie (Southwest Research Institute)|
The New Horizons mission is currently approaching Pluto and just released the first color image of Pluto and its moon Charon from a mere 71 million miles away.
5. Hubble Deep Field
|Credit: R. Williams (STScI), the Hubble Deep Field Team and NASA|
No list of Hubble images would seem complete without this iconic image of deep space, known as the Hubble Deep Field.
The story I was told in my undergraduate astronomy courses was that astronomers wanted to point Hubble in the darkest part of the night sky to see what they could find. In December 1995, Hubble stared for ten days at an "empty" region of space just above the Big Dipper constellation. The area of the sky was no bigger than a tennis ball viewed from a hundred meters away, which meant that there were only a couple foreground stars from our own galaxy in view. Every other point of light in the Hubble Deep Field image is a galaxy, each with billions of stars of their own.
This image, and the subsequent deep field images over the years, highlights the vastness and diversity of space like no other photograph.
Hubble 25th Anniversary ImageNASA and ESA have just announced the image that marks the 25th anniversary, which they describe as a "glittering tapestry of young stars flaring to life". This image shows the Westerlund 2 star cluster, 20,000 light years away in the Carina constellation.
|Credit: Image credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team|
Happy 25th Hubble!
By Tamela Maciel, also known as "pendulum"