For almost 30 years now, the Hubble Space Telescope has transformed how we see the cosmos. In terms of scientific output as well as making visible the splendors of the sky above us, the Hubble has been arguably the most consequential telescope ever to peer into space.
To commemorate 30 years of Hubble science and images, NASA and the European Space Agency have released 30 previously unpublished images of galaxies, star clusters and nebula from what is known as the Caldwell catalogue, a collection compiled by British amateur astronomer and science communicator Sir Patrick Caldwell-Moore.
These images have been taken by Hubble throughout its time in space and used for scientific research or for engineering tests, but NASA had not fully processed the images for public release until now.
At the end of a difficult year, they offer the glitter, the grandeur and the cosmic marvel that the Hubble provides so well and that perhaps people could use right now.
The Hubble famously entered into Earth orbit and began its mission with the calamitous discovery of a near-fatal mistake — the main mirror had been ground incorrectly and could not accomplish much viewing. The telescope was about 340 miles from Earth and never before had NASA undertaken a mission to repair a spacecraft that far away.
But in 1993 seven astronauts flew to the Hubble on the space shuttle Endeavour, spent five days repairing it and the rest is history. … Read more