Happy Birthday Hubble!

Today marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 on the Space Shuttle Discovery. Despite a problematic start to its career – it was made with a defective mirror that had to be corrected after launch – this space observatory has been stunningly successful over its thirty year career.

The picture above has been chosen to mark this important anniversary. It shows the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbour (NGC 2020), part of a vast star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located 163,000 light-years away. The image is nicknamed the “Cosmic Reef,” because NGC 2014 resembles part of a coral reef floating in a vast sea of stars.

Happy Birthday Hubble Space Telescope! Let’s hope that your orbit brings many happy returns..

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