Feeds

Hubble sends back new pictures to mark 15 years in orbit

Happy Birthday Hubble

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The Hubble space telescope has been in orbit for 15 years, during which time it has taken over 750,000 images of the universe.

To celebrate, NASA has released two new pictures: one of a new area of the Eagle Nebula, a star forming region where hot dense gas is being shaped by ultraviolet light from a group of massive hot stars; the other of the Whirlpool Galaxy, with a smaller, companion galaxy on one of its arms.

A towering pillar of dust and gas rising from the Eagle nebula

The telescope didn't get off to the happiest of starts - when its first images were sent back to earth, NASA discovered that one of its mirrors was misshapen, so it was effectively myopic. However, since NASA scientists devised a fix for the problem, the telescope has made a huge scientific contribution. It has traced gamma ray bursts to their origins in distant galaxies, recorded the impact of a comet on Jupiter, proved the existence of super-massive black holes and pinned down the age of the universe.

Now, Hubble's future is under threat. Scheduled maintenance missions to Hubble were cancelled because of safety concerns raised by the Columbia Shuttle disaster, in which all astronauts on board were lost. This means Hubble will gradually break down. Engineers say it has enough power to keep going until 2008, but unless some kind of servicing mission can be mounted there will be no extra-atmospheric telescope until the 2011 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope. ®

Related stories

Exoplanet 'more likely to be brown dwarf'
NASA gives thumbs up to new Shuttle missions
Astronomers spot first ever dark galaxy

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.