Twenty-nine years ago today, on April 24, 1990, NASA launched its brand-new Hubble Space Telescope into orbit around Earth. Since then, it's been consistent in giving us stunning pictures and data from outer space, having made hundreds of thousands of rounds around our planet. In total, it's traveled over 4 billion miles, made over 1.3 million observations, and contributed to more than 15,000 scientific papers. So today, it's time to celebrate.
To mark the occasion of the Hubble's anniversary in orbit, NASA has released a never-before-seen image of the Southern Crab Nebula, an outer space cloud of dust and gas that lives several thousand light years from Earth. The image shows off the distinct hourglass shape of the Southern Crab Nebula, formed because of the pair of stars in its middle.
This stunning picture is a testament to the incredible trove of data that Hubble has collected over the years, with amazing attention to detail: The telescope's mechanism has the power to detect the equivalent of "a human hair seen at a distance of 1 mile," with the accuracy of "being able to shine a laser beam on President Roosevelt’s head on a dime about 200 miles away," NASA explained.
See the Hubble Space Telescope's latest image, and learn more about its contributions to our study of outer space, in the video below. Shivani Ishwar