NASA Celebrates Hubble's 25th Birthday with Celestial Fireworks

Friday, 24 April 2015 - 11:15AM
Space
Astronomy
Space Imagery
Friday, 24 April 2015 - 11:15AM
NASA Celebrates Hubble's 25th Birthday with Celestial Fireworks
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope launched on April 24, 1990, which makes today its 25th birthday. To celebrate the last quarter century of exploring the cosmos, NASA released a beautiful image of celestial "fireworks" in the constellation Carina.

"Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos," NASA's John Grunsfeld said in a statement. "This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science."

For a full-size version, click here:

NASA Celebrates Hubble's 25th Birthday with Celestial Fireworks

The star cluster at the center of the image, called Westerlund 2, consists of 3,000 stars and is between 6 and 13 light-years across. It lies within a stellar breeding ground called Gum 29 that is 20,000 light-years away from our home planet. The star cluster is approximately 2 million years old.



The brilliant colors around the star cluster are partially caused by the release of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds of charged particles from some of the largest stars, which then become a massive hydrogen gas cloud. The pillars around the cluster represent the star-birthing areas, which are much more accessible to scientists as a result of their relatively young astronomical age. Since they're only 2 million years old, the stars have not had a chance to disperse yet, allowing scientists to gather data about the stellar incubators and the resulting bodies.
Science
NASA
Space
Astronomy
Space Imagery

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