Happy birthday Hubble (for real this time)

By Phil Plait | April 24, 2011 12:04 pm

Today is the 21st anniversary of Hubble’s launch into space — I wrote about this the other day, when a pretty picture of colliding galaxies was released, but got the date wrong. So today really is the anniversary! To celebrate, LIFE online put up a nice gallery of some of Hubble’s best images.

They have a lot of the usual choices (though they left off a few that surprise me, like the Deep Field images), but it’s still worth clicking through. Some day I’ll pick my favorite Hubble images and do the same thing, but geez, what a vast uphill climb that would be! Winnowing it down to, say, my top 50 would be hard enough! Of course, you can always check out my Ten Things You Don’t Know About Hubble to tide you over, too.

Tip o’ the lens cap to Fark.

Related posts:

Crafting a Hubble galaxy in two minutes
Scattered jewels in the core of a cluster
Hubble sees baby stars eating sandwiches and blowing bubbles
The Milquetoasty Way

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, Pretty pictures

Comments (14)

Links to this Post

  1. Happy Birthday, Hubble! — Griffin Science | April 24, 2011
  1. Jamey

    Life put the images online not Time.

  2. Heh. Thanks Jamey, I fixed that. I always mix up those two.

  3. Jamey

    As do I. They are fantastic images. There are three I have not seen before. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. Martha

    When an Earth based telescope observes something like changes in the clouds on Jupiter or a comet like the one in 1994 on its way to Jupiter how long does it take to make the necessary adjustments to have Hubble take a look?

  5. Messier Tidy Upper

    Great image :-)

    This animation here :


    is pretty great too. :-)

    Happy birthday Hubble – & thanks! 8)

  6. Carey

    Hubble gotchu!

  7. mike burkhart

    Hubble has expaned our knowelge of the universe.I think it been a sucess and hope it continues .But it will have to be replace evetuly .So I wonder is Hubbel 2 in the works?

  8. Messier Tidy Upper

    @ ^ mike burkhart : Sort of – there’s the James Webb telescope the next great observatory which is , the Terrestrial Planet finder and others – which will be great and do lots of good for science and us all – but they won’t be Hubble.

    There’s not going to be a duplicate of Hubble or with its exact capabilities, structure and design. In Other Words, no ‘Hubble-2’ but some Hubble successors.

    Personally, I wish they’d keep Hubble up there, boost it into a higher orbit out of harm’s way spo its not “space junk” but where it can, decades or centuries hence, be repaired or retrieved rather than give it a “viking funeral” by re-entering & destroying it over the Pacific ocean. However, if I understand right, the plan is that the HST will be de-orbited in a something like five or so years time. :-(

  9. Messier Tidy Upper

    See also :






    for more on the Hubble’s successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. (Or Space Observatory really as the BA has pointed out before.)

  10. Messier Tidy Upper

    Plus additionally* see :


    Seems the TPF has been postponed by budget – hopefully will go ahead still one day? :-(



    NASA’s JWST site & finally :


    Regarding the future prospects for Hubble post mission which notes :

    “The final decision was not to attach a de-orbit module on STS-125, but to add a grapple fixture so a robotic mission could more easily attach such a module later.

    So it seems they might be keeping options open, I think?


    * As opposed to “plus subtractively”, I know! 😉

  11. Messier Tidy Upper

    D’oh! Correction – line completion – necessary :

    Sort of – there’s the James Webb telescope the next great observatory which is ..an infra-red NOT a visual space observatory.

    Finally, one last link & quote if I may :

    NASA_Hubble : It’s Hubble’s 21st bday, but it won’t be drinking. Stability is very important to taking those spectacular images.

    Via “Hubble tweets” : http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/main/

    Durn! Poor Hubble. 😮

    Guess that means *I’ll* hafta drink for it! [Raises beer, swigs deeply& con gusto.] 😉

  12. Kaleberg

    So, is anyone going to do a Hubble space telescope bloopers and out-takes gallery? That would be really neat, at least for certain values of neat. (Perhaps a shot with one of the astronaut’s hands visible in the aperture?)


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