Hubble celebrates 21st with gorgeous galactic 'rose' snap
Photogenic Andromedan pairing 'Arp 273' caught on scope
NASA is celebrating the forthcoming 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch with a fetching snap of a galactic "rose".
Hubble was lifted heavenwards on 24 April 1990 aboard space shuttle Discovery. Its anniversary photo was captured by the Wide Field Camera 3, under the guidance of astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.
It shows spiral galaxy UGC 1810 "distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813". The pair, collectively known as Arp 273, lie in the constellation Andromeda, some 300 million light-years from Earth.
Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland enthused: "Hubble is America's gift to the world. Its jaw-dropping images have rewritten the textbooks and inspired generations of schoolchildren to study math and science. It has been documenting the history of our universe for 21 years.
"Thanks to the daring of our brave astronauts, a successful servicing mission in 2009 gave Hubble new life. I look forward to Hubble's amazing images and inspiring discoveries for years to come."
NASA head honcho Charles Bolden joined the love-in with: "For 21 years, Hubble has profoundly changed our view of the universe, allowing us to see deep into the past while opening our eyes to the majesty and wonders around us.
"I was privileged to pilot space shuttle Discovery as it deployed Hubble. After all this time, new Hubble images still inspire awe and are a testament to the extraordinary work of the many people behind the world's most famous observatory."
NASA has more on "especially photogenic" Arp 273 right here. ®
one of the greatest achievements of man
Hubble would have to be one of the greatest of human achievements ever. Never before seen images, never before imagined clarity ..... I could go on. There are not too many technological advances of the scope and significance of this bird. I for one feel fortunate indeed to have lived through the "hubble age", and look foreward to more breathtaking images.
And all THIS was created in just 6 days?
Amazing, almost too amazing to be true, eh?
noone is interested in seeing these things first-hand
... that's why we have all that artificial lighting at night drowning it out.
Try going out an amazingly clear evening in London (or pick any city of 500k people or more), look up and see if you can spot _any_ star in the sky.
When you're in a place truly dark (say, the Australian desert, the peruvian Andes, even, gasp, rural Poland will do ...), the milky way, if overhead, does give you a feeling of being on a spaceship bridge, headed right into the galaxy. And you don't even need a telescope nor a spaceship.
We all should be ashamed how little consideration we have for one of nature's greatest wonders - the dark night sky, and the quietness of night. You can't eat nor sell it, so I guess it's worthless all right ... at least we can get amazing savings on nighttime electricity !