The "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula is perhaps the most iconic celestial scene captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Seen here in a colorized composite image, these enormous towers of dust and gas are seared by the intense radiation from young stars.
Dear Hubble: How one telescope transformed astronomy, and us all
On the 29th anniversary of the instrument's first image, a former analyst reflects on how it became a scientific powerhouse—and cultural icon.
A few years back, a series of segments appeared on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon that astronomy nerds loved. Here’s the premise: A bombastic guy decked out in Yankees gear named “Milky J” would come out of the audience and get in-your-face excited about, of all things, the Hubble Space Telescope. One after the next, Milky J would show mind-blowing Hubble pictures, and then he’d shout his catchphrase: “Hubble gotchu!”
In my case, Milky J’s catchphrase proved pretty accurate. Wherever I’ve been in life—an astronomy nerd, a telescope data analyst, and now a science journalist who keeps up with your latest—you’ve got me.
Your road to fame was a rocky one. You started as a massive government boondoggle, a punchline