Hubble Shares a Candy-Colored Bubble on Its Birthday
This view of the Bubble Nebula is the latest and greatest in an image set spanning decades that will help astronomers study powerful stars.
The Hubble Space Telescope turns 26 this week, and NASA ordered up one heck of a party balloon.
The spectacular image above shows the Bubble Nebula, a rapidly expanding sphere of hot gas and dust floating in space about 8,000 light-years away. This is Hubble’s first picture of the entire nebula, taken to celebrate the anniversary of its launch—the space telescope blasted off aboard the space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990.
Hubble is no stranger to this particular space puff. The telescope snapped an image of the Bubble Nebula shortly after launch, but at the time, its camera was experiencing some technical difficulties and the bubble was largely a blur.
A repair mission in 1993 swapped out the first camera for