Hubble's 20th Birthday Pic: "Eagle Nebula on Steroids"

By Andrew Moseman | April 23, 2010 10:02 am


Happy birthday, old friend.

Tomorrow marks 20 years since the space shuttle Discovery carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. And to mark the occasion, NASA released the latest in a long line of incredibly gorgeous images of nebulae and star birth. This is the Carina nebula, which the telescope first shot in 2007. “We wanted to have an image that will be at least as spectacular as the iconic ‘pillars of creation,’ says Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, referring to a widely reproduced 1995 Hubble image of the Eagle Nebula. “This particular image can arguably be called ‘Eagle Nebula on steroids’” [Science News]. This sweeping view comes thanks to the Wide Field Camera 3, installed during a Hubble upgrade last summer.

There’s plenty more Hubble love to go around. DISCOVER blogger Phil Plait promises a few surprises in his “Ten Things You Don’t Know About Hubble.” And if you’ve already seen the Eagle Nebula more times than you can count, check out our gallery of the most underrated Hubble images.

Related Content:
DISCOVER: Happy Birthday, Hubble: The Telescope’s Most Underrated Images
Bad Astronomy: Ten Things You Don’t Know About Hubble
80beats: Prepare To Be Amazed: First Images from the Repaired Hubble Are Stunning
80beats: Hubble Spies Galaxies That Formed Just After the Big Bang

Image: NASA, ESA, M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

  • Stanley H. Tweedle


  • Evil Merodach

    Is that a Herbig–Haro object at the top of the image? Very cool.

  • scott

    All these colored images – the color is added by someone, (the pics that come back are B&W correct?)….if we were in a ship in a position where this image would be similar, would we see it like this?

  • Su Chang

    Hubble 20th, Happy Brithday ^^

  • Napoleon

    Yeah, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HUBBLE! Too bad space exploration and everything space related in the USA once stood for is now being outsourced to the Russians. Hey, “CHANGE and HOPE” remember? Nothing like anything “American” being made or done in actual America.

  • Benjamin Koshkin

    Really amazing how beautiful the universe can be.

    Benjamin Koshkin

  • Rick Drain

    Scott, they’re false color, but not colorized like an old movie.
    Hubble shots are combinations of info from different sensors pointed at the same object.
    Different kinds of material– based on temperature, spectral info, and other astrophysics data– are assigned different colors. A computer puts together the result.

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