NASA and ESA have selected a stunning image and produced a three-dimensional video that fittingly depict a glittering fireworks display to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Hubble was launched on April 24, 1990, and since then has made nearly 137,000 trips around Earth and more than 1.2 million observations of over 38,000 celestial objects.
One of them is an image of a cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2, named after the Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund, who discovered the grouping in the 1960s. The cluster resides in "a raucous stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Carina," according to the Hubble Space Telescope Facebook page.
Here is the visualization of the three-dimensional perspective of this 25th anniversary image:
"Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe," said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. "This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science."
According to the Hubble website, this giant star cluster is “only” about 2 million years old and contains some of our galaxy's hottest, brightest and most massive stars.
“The largest stars are unleashing a torrent of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds that etch away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud,” the site says. “This creates a fantasy celestial landscape of pillars, ridges and valleys.”
Over the years, Hubble has produced many fascinating images, bringing our universe all the more closer. In celebration of the 25th anniversary, we present a few of them from the Hubble Space Telescope picture gallery:
Majestic spiral galaxy M51 appears to be a grand spiral staircase sweeping through space but is actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust.
The hourglass shape of this young planetary nebula called MyCn18 might be produced by the expansion of a fast stellar wind within a slowly expanding cloud, which is denser near its equator.
Butterfly Nebula NGC 6302
What looks like butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The gas is traveling across space at 600,000 mph—fast enough to travel from Earth to the moon in 24 minutes.
This was the image released for Hubble's 20th anniversary. The pillars show the telltale signature of new stars forming at their tips.
The glowing remains of a Sun-like star.
Saturn as viewed in ultraviolet light. Particles in the planet's atmosphere reflect different wavelengths of light in discrete ways, causing some gas bands to vividly stand out.
The unstable star is estimated to be 100 times more massive than our Sun, radiating about 5 million times more power than our Sun.
Jet in Carina
This pillar made of gas and dust resides in a tempestuous stellar nursery called Carina Nebula.
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