Two Pictures That Show How The Hubble Telescope Changed The World

Illustration for article titled Two Pictures That Show How The Hubble Telescope Changed The World

Happy Birthday, Hubble! The space telescope with an incredible eye for the weird and wonderful is turning 25 — and to look back over the past 25 years, NASA has put together an album of the best Hubble picture of the year, every year, since 1990.

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What’s really delightful about this album is that you can see the progress so clearly. Over the past two and a half decades, Hubble has been practicing and that practice has paid off.

Consider these two shots. The first is from the Hubble’s first year in 1990:

Illustration for article titled Two Pictures That Show How The Hubble Telescope Changed The World

It’s a perfectly respectable, even rather pretty, shot of a supernova. Certainly, it was one of the more impressive snaps of its day.

Here’s the selected anniversary image in 2014:

Illustration for article titled Two Pictures That Show How The Hubble Telescope Changed The World

WHOA.

Not only is the image itself gorgeous, it’s also exceptional from a scientific standpoint. Using gravitational lensing techniques, Hubble was able to take this shot of the deepest section of space we have ever seen – and beam us back an up-close look at the galaxies out there.

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In other words, it’s been a pretty busy 25 years.

You can check out the images for each year right here.

Top image: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (U. California, Berkeley) et al., and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); 1990 Hubble image: NASA, ESA, and STScI; 2014 Hubble image: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz, M. Mountain, A. Koekemoer, and the HFF Team (STScI)

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DISCUSSION

anonymous01
Dirty Fool

I watched a really awesome NOVA show on Hubble the other night, and it kind of blew my mind. I have been fascinated by space and the night sky ever since I saw Hale-Bopp and Saturn’s rings as a kid, but I never realized how important the HST was to expanding our knowledge of the observable universe. Makes me really excited for what things the Webb telescope will bring. Happy birthday big flying telescope!