Hubble

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23 years old and still trucking: Hubble's best pics. Almost 23 years ago, the $2 billion (£1.3 billion) Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit on the Space Shuttle Discovery.

23 years old and still trucking: Hubble's best pics

The launch, on 24 April 1990, marked the beginning of a new era of space photography. Hubble transformed the public's perception of astronomy with the incredible images (see gallery) of space it was able to beam back to Earth. But its contribution to scientific knowledge was equal, if not greater, than its worth as a public relations tool. It provided evidence for the existence of dark energy, the strange phenomenon that's driving the accelerated expansion of the Universe; its observations helped nail down the age of the Universe with greater accuracy; and it changed our understanding of galaxy formation by showing that supermassive black holes were a common feature of galaxies.

HUDF 2012

Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest-Ever View of the Universe. Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest-Ever View of the Universe Like photographers assembling a portfolio of best shots, astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of mankind's deepest-ever view of the universe.

Hubble Goes to the eXtreme to Assemble Farthest-Ever View of the Universe

(Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Unveiled. Want to stay on top of all the space news?

Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Unveiled

Follow @universetoday on Twitter A quick check of Hubble’s gallery shows just 1,300 images; however more than raw 700,000 images reside in a vast archive with hundreds of potentially jaw-dropping astronomical scenes just waiting to be uncovered. That was the idea behind the European Space Agency’s international contest called Hubble’s Hidden Treasures. And now with the hard work of amateur astronomers and more than 3,000 submissions, some of Hubble’s incredible celestial treasures are revealed. Hubble's Hidden Treasures. Hubble's Hidden Treasures — Image Processing. Hubble's Hidden Treasures 2012. Since 1990, Hubble has made more than a million observations.

Hubble's Hidden Treasures 2012

We feature many of these on spacetelescope.org, and the most stunning are in our Top 100 gallery and iPad app. But there are thousands of pictures in Hubble’s science archive that have only been seen by a few scientists. We call these images Hubble’s hidden treasures — stunning images of astronomical phenomena that have never been seen and enjoyed by the public. Every week, we search the archive for hidden treasures, process the scientific data into attractive images and publish them as the Hubble Picture of the Week. But the archive is so vast that nobody really knows the full extent of what Hubble has observed.

Join the 2012 Hubble's Hidden Treasures Competition. Over two decades in orbit, the Hubble Space Telescope has made a huge number of observations.

Join the 2012 Hubble's Hidden Treasures Competition

Every week, we publish new images on the ESA/Hubble website. But hidden in Hubble’s huge data archives are still some truly breathtaking images that have never been seen in public. We call them Hubble’s Hidden Treasures — and we’re looking for your help to bring them to light. We’re inviting the public into Hubble’s vast science archive to dig out the best unseen Hubble images. ESA/Hubble. Hubble NICMOS infrared image of M51. This image by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a face-on view of the spiral galaxy M51, dubbed the Whirlpool Galaxy.

Hubble NICMOS infrared image of M51

Taken in infrared, the image reveals the Whirlpool's skeletal dust structure, as seen in near-infrared light. This new image is the sharpest view of the dense dust in M51. The narrow lanes of dust revealed by Hubble reflect the galaxy's name, the Whirlpool Galaxy, as they appear to swirl towards the galaxy's core. Credit: Les paysages variés de la nébuleuse de la Tarentule photographiés par Hubble. Beauté éblouissante de la nébuleuse de la Tarentule Le télescope spatial Hubble, qui fête ses 22 ans, publie une mosaïque d’images vertigineuses de l’une des plus impressionnantes matrices d’étoiles dans notre voisinage galactique, la nébuleuse de la Tarentule.

Les paysages variés de la nébuleuse de la Tarentule photographiés par Hubble

L’image est fascinante. Nous pénétrons dans un vaste paysage cosmique qui s’étend sur environ 650 années-lumière. Cela se passe à 170 000 années-lumière de nous, dans la galaxie naine du Grand Nuage de Magellan (LMC). Hubble Legacy Archive. Hubble Space Telescope Images 2010 The Stars Like Dust - Jonn Serrie. Out of the ordinary...out of this world. Amazing Hubble Pictures. Photograph courtesy John Spencer (Lowell Observatory) and NASA In 1999, to commemorate the ninth anniversary since its launch, the Hubble Space Telescope took this dramatic snapshot of Jupiter’s moon Io and its shadow sweeping across the gas giant’s turbulent atmosphere.

Amazing Hubble Pictures

About the size of Earth’s moon, Io is the most volcanic body in the solar system and orbits 500,000 kilometers above the planet’s cloud tops. ESA/Hubble Flashbacks.