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SPACE | Hubble Space Telescope

Space Journey: Hubble's astonishing 28 year contribution


Erin Wenckstern
Meteorologist

Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 1:08 PM - Ever since its launch in 1990 from the space shuttle Discovery, the Hubble Space Telescope has guided us on a tremendous journey through the cosmos, taking humanity to the edge of space and time, furthering our knowledge of the Universe.

Orbiting over 500 km above Earth, the telescope has taken over a million observations, leading to an unimaginable amount of data, directly fueling 15,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications -- with those papers cited over 700,000 times.

Now, 28 years later, we'd like to thank Hubble for decades of mind-blowing discoveries by showcasing their greatest images, videos and scientific accolades.

All files are courtesy of NASA, ESA and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

(OUT OF THIS WORLD | THE LATEST IN SPACE)

PILLARS OF CREATION

The iconic image was originally taken in 1995, but a new version (below) was released in 2015. Found in the heart of M16 or the Eagle Nebula approximately 7,000 light years away, the Pillars of Creation are towering clouds of interstellar dust, shielding the new born stars in the nebula.


FLY THROUGH A NEBULA

The Lagoon Nebula is approximately 4,000 light years away and is visible through binoculars in our night sky as a bright smudge in the constellation Sagittarius. Hubble used its images to create this virtual tour of the chaotic yet elegant nature of this stellar nursery.



DISTANT RELATIVES: RELICS OF OUR PAST

The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field is truly the pinnacle of observational astronomy. This one image captured 13 million years of creation, displaying 10,000 galaxies tremendously ranging in size and age. The smallest and reddest galaxies comprise about 100 in this image and are likely the most distant known galaxies in our universe, existing only 800 million years after the Big Bang.


SOMBRERO GALAXY

M104 is a spiral galaxy, but has been appropriately nicknamed the Sombrero Galaxy due to its resemblance to the Mexican hat. Why is it added to this list? Do I really need to explain? Pure eye candy.


RECONSTRUCTING THE PAST

Galactic mergers are seen across the cosmos, but their disruptive ends occur over several millions of years. To see the show in real-time, scientists have recreated the collisions to understand their evolution. Imaged: NGC 4676 "The Mice".


DETECTING THE MOST DISTANT SINGLE STAR

Icarus: the most distant single star detected is a shocking 9 billion light years away from Earth and was only detected through gravitational lensing. 



ILLUMINATING THE DARKNESS... OF DARK MATTER

One of the most humbling discoveries of our generation was dark matter -- an elusive and unknown type of matter that permeates space and makes up the majority of our mass in the universe, shaping its underlying structure. Even though we cannot see dark matter, Hubble can detect its influence by observing how the gravity in galaxy clusters, containing dark matter, distorts light from objects in the background. This process is known as gravitational lensing.

Thank you, Hubble. May you continue to inspire generations to come!

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