Featured Image Source: M83/Hubble
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit on April 24, 1990, carried on Space Shuttle Discovery from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. A day later, on April 25, 1990, astronauts guided the 43-foot, 12-ton telescope from the cargo bay out into orbit 332 miles above Earth’s surface. For decades scientists have used it to observe the most distant celestial bodies. Hubble has shaped our understanding of the universe, unveiled the farthest known galaxies and provided astronomers with data to research if life could exist on other planets. Hubble has made more than 1.3 million observations since its mission began in 1990, the stunning imagery inspires the dreamer within.
Hubble Telescope / NASA
Hubble is the first advanced space-based observatory, named after American astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889 - 1953), who confirmed an "expanding" universe, which provided the foundation for the Big-Bang Theory. Having a telescope in space allows for a clear view of the universe, above the distortion of our atmosphere and clouds. It is an engineering marvel, designed with the capability to be repaired and upgraded by astronauts aboard the International Space Station. Hubble is powered by the sun, has two 25-foot solar panels. It sends back around 150-gigabits of science data on a weekly basis.
According to NASA the telescope can see “astronomical objects with an angular size of 0.05 arcseconds, which is like seeing a pair of fireflies in Tokyo that are less than 10 feet apart from Washington, DC.”
Hubble Ultra Deep Field / Source: NASA Hubble
The farthest known galaxies in the universe, were captured by Hubble on March 9, 2004, the image above is known as Hubble Ultra Deep Field. It shows around 10,000 galaxies, the smallest, reddest galaxies may be among the most distant known to humankind, scientists say they existed when the universe was just 800 million years old. Hubble is capable of seeing the distant past, to locations more than 13.4 billion light-years away from Earth.
Next week, on April 23, NASA’s Hubble telescope will achieve its 30th year in orbit. Hubble has explored the cosmos twenty-four hours a day, every week, since its deployment. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the agency released a website to find out what celestial object Hubble captured on your birthday. From mysterious galaxies to black holes and cosmic explosions – explore other worlds to celebrate Hubble’s wonderful discoveries!
NGC3982 -spiral galaxy. Source: NASA Hubble
On NASA’s website (linked below), you enter the month and day you were born to receive an image of what the Hubble telescope captured on your birthday. For example, on my birthday May 1st, Hubble captured a spiral galaxy, the website also offers a description - “This image captures the face-on spiral galaxy NGC 3982. Its arms are lined with pink star-forming regions of glowing hydrogen, blue newborn star clusters, and dark dust lanes that provide the raw material for future generations of stars.”
What did Hubble capture on your birthday?
Find out on NASA’s website: HUBBLE select your birthday
To celebrate its anniversary, use the hashtag #Hubble30.
Share it with us via Twitter @Tesmanian_com!
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.