The Hubble Celebrates 20 Years of Discovery

20 years ago (April 24, 1990) the Hub­ble Space Tele­scope was launched, begin­ning a long peri­od of dis­cov­ery. Today, NASA is cel­e­brat­ing the Hub­ble’s 20th anniver­sary by releas­ing one of the many bril­liant pho­tos tak­en by the space tele­scope. The image shows us a small por­tion of one of the largest star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Cari­na Neb­u­la. As NASA goes on to describe it:

“Tow­ers of cool hydro­gen laced with dust rise from the wall of the neb­u­la. The scene is rem­i­nis­cent of Hub­ble’s clas­sic “Pil­lars of Cre­ation” pho­to from 1995, but is even more strik­ing in appear­ance. The image cap­tures the top of a three-light-year-tall pil­lar of gas and dust that is being eat­en away by the bril­liant light from near­by bright stars. The pil­lar is also being pushed apart from with­in, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen stream­ing from tow­er­ing peaks like arrows sail­ing through the air.”

You can down­load NASA’s fea­tured pho­to in var­i­ous sizes and res­o­lu­tions here. You can also look through an amaz­ing gallery of Hub­ble pho­tos spon­sored by NASA, plus a beau­ti­ful col­lec­tion by Nation­al Geo­graph­ic’s here. Last­ly, NPR has a nice audio slideshow that fea­tures astronomers talk­ing about their favorite Hub­ble images. Thanks @lauraehall for the heads up on that.

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