Hubble: A quarter century of observation

NASA celebrates space telescope’s 25th birthday with stellar fireworks

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Humanity has a much deeper understanding of many scientific concepts such as dark energy, gamma ray bursts, cosmic background radiation, exoplanets and others thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, which turned to 25 last Friday.

NASA celebrated Hubble’s 25th birthday on Thursday with a picture of stellar fireworks located in the Carina constellation 20 thousand light years away.

“Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos,” said Dr. John Grunsfeld, an astronaut and the associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

“This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science.”

This stellar nursery is composed of about 3 thousand stars and is 2 million years old. NASA calls this cluster of star births a “raucous stellar breeding ground”.

In a letter, US President Barack Obama also congratulated the crew of the Hubble Space Telescope and said that “more than a million of observations” of the Hubble are “beyond our wildest dreams” and have “expanded and transformed our knowledge of the universe.”

Besides Dr. Grunsfeld, who is also known as “the Hubble repairman”, he personally thanked Charlie Bolden, who was the pilot of the Shuttle mission that took the telescope into orbit and is now the administrator of the project.

According to the HubbleSite.Org, the Hubble has made more than 1.2 million observations of more than 38 thousand celestial objects. In its 25 years of operation the space telescope revolved around earth almost 137 thousand times. More than 12,800 papers have been published using the 100 terrabytes of data collected by the Hubble, which is increasing at a rate of 829 gigabytes every month.

NASA hopes that the Hubble will be functional until 2020. And after that it will be replaced by its successor, the James Webb Telescope which is due to launch in 2018.

TRTWorld and agencies