Hubble Telescope: 25 Years Of Stunning Images - InformationWeek

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4/22/2015
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Nathan Eddy
Nathan Eddy
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Hubble Telescope: 25 Years Of Stunning Images

In celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope's 25th year in low-Earth orbit, InformationWeek has taken a selection of some of the craft's most stunning and awe-inspiring photos, which explore the far reaches of our galaxy and beyond -- pictures that truly define the phrase "out of this world."
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The Hubble Space Telescope was less than a rousing success when it first launched a quarter of a century ago, but the problems that first plagued the massive craft have been rightfully eclipsed by the stunning accomplishments of the telescope --which has transformed our understanding of the solar system and beyond.

Now, on the 25th anniversary of the launch -- April 24, 1990 -- we mere mortals have a chance to looking back at more than two-decades of stunning images of the universe.

Named after the astronomer Edwin Hubble, the telescope cost $1.5 billion at launch and is powered by two, 25-foot solar panels.

Among its many discoveries, Hubble is credited with finding the age of the universe -- 13.7 billion years old, in case you were wondering -- four moons around the dwarf planet Pluto, the first organic molecule discovered on a planet outside our solar system, and the rate of expansion of the universe.

While the technical and scientific discoveries of the Hubble are undoubtedly impressive, it is the stunning cache of images that the telescope has amassed over the years that captures a worldwide audience.

One of the key companies involved in the production of those images is Ball Technologies, which has been involved in the Hubble program since the beginning and has provided a total of seven science instruments on the telescope over the past 25 years, including the pioneering optics responsible for Hubble's iconic images and discoveries.

A selection of the company's favorite images is included here, as well as a survey of some of the Hubble's most iconic snapshots, which take viewers not only through space, but also back in time.

In addition, to a retrospective of the telescope's most stunning images, NASA is celebrating the Hubble's 25th anniversary with a variety of events highlighting its groundbreaking achievements and scientific contributions with activities running from now through April 26.

In one particularly impressive display, images taken by the Hubble telescope will be broadcast several times each hour on dual-LED screens in Times Square in New York City, through April 26.

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin. View Full Bio

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Li Tan
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Li Tan,
User Rank: Ninja
5/3/2015 | 10:22:12 AM
Re: Amazing
Thinking about the mysteries of this galaxy is exciting enough - I am looking forward to see more amazing photos.
mak63
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mak63,
User Rank: Ninja
4/27/2015 | 8:41:26 PM
Overwhelming
Each time I see the Hubble telescope's images, I feel overwhelmed with emotions. I can't really describe it with words. A sense of belonging.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 2:24:10 PM
Re: Amazing
@Yalanand: The Whirlpool galaxy looks so magical its almost unbelievable. One of those billions of stars in the galaxy is capable of holding life. We can see the exterior and predict what we can expect in the interior.
SunitaT0
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SunitaT0,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 2:22:04 PM
Re: Amazing
I think the newer telescopes should concentrate on the newer side of the universe, see the birth of black holes and stars and nebulas. 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 5:58:48 AM
Re: Amazing
The next huge wave of information from space will come through the next generation of space based telescope. The James Webb Space Telescope will be launched in 2018. The telescope will be specializing in infrared observations -- more information from deep space. Truly, amazing! 
Brian.Dean
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Brian.Dean,
User Rank: Ninja
4/24/2015 | 5:46:19 AM
Re: Hubble Telescope: 25 Years Of Stunning Images
Well said, comprehending the information that Hubble has sent back to Earth is difficult -- luckily, the world has reached a point where specialized professional exist and have taken the time to make sense of all the amazing information. Everything is breathtaking for instance, stellar formation and the cycle that seeds the universe with heavy elements.
yalanand
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yalanand,
User Rank: Ninja
4/23/2015 | 3:18:03 PM
Re: Amazing
Depp Field was good, but Sombrero and Whirlpool galaxy, especially the whirlpool galaxy blew my mind away. It also blows my mind away at how we are glancing into the past.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
4/23/2015 | 7:11:26 AM
Amazing
It is pretty amazing how sucessful the Hubble has been considering its early problems. It does make me wary of talks of its replacement however, which will be so much further from Earth - if there's problem, how are we going to fix it?

Still, if Hubble was any indicator of what can be achieved and with 20+ year old hardware to boot, a modern day take on it could be very exciting. 
zerox203
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zerox203,
User Rank: Ninja
4/23/2015 | 3:05:36 AM
Re: Hubble Telescope: 25 Years Of Stunning Images
Wow, there are some great images in here, Nathan! I'm in the camp who's continuously fascinated by the availability of these images and this research, and while I can't get enough, more than a few lines of explanation still tends to go over my head, well-versed as I'd like to consider myself. Check this out (from the full gallery on hubble's site) :  "In this celestial case, it is especially dense clouds of molecular hydrogen gas (two atoms of hydrogen in each molecule) and dust that have survived longer than their surroundings in the face of a flood of ultraviolet light from hot, massive newborn stars (off the top edge of the picture). This process is called "photoevaporation"". What an explanation. Apparently this process helps to incubate stars. I can sort of grasp it, but not fully; it does my heart good to know there's someone out there who does.

In a way, a lot of this really drives home how brief a time 25 years is for the universe. These images have moved mankind's understanding of our universe forward by leaps and bounds, but it's not like the universe made any special effort to show us all this; it was always sitting there, waiting to be discovered. It at least gives us a measuring stick to see how much (or how little) some things change over time, like those storms on Saturn. Future generations will look back on this as humanity's very first stretch of time seriously exploring space, and we are fortunate to have lived through it. And you're right; Dave's article on space travel the other week was the first I'd ever heard of the Hubble's famous early blunders. It's a good thing that the beauty of these images has already eclipsed that. As time goes on, that will become more and more the case, until the problems aren't even a footnote.
win dow
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win dow,
User Rank: Strategist
4/22/2015 | 11:25:26 PM
space
The universe is so spectactular that I cant stand not being able to fly amongst it. But, whats even more awesome is what may lie in the different dimensions. I think trying to figure it out would be so enlightening. Possibly creating exceptional high and low frequencies has something to do with it. Maybe, we may find heaven and hell or ufos. Sounds ignorant but who knows what we may find.
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