In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched to capture images of the great unknown. Thirty years later and the telescope is still in space taking incredible images while in Earth orbit.
The Hubble telescope faced problems in its early years and was expected to be able to continue taking pictures of space for 10 years. The system has now reached 30 years of orbit around the Earth and has proved to be one of the most successful satellites ever sent into space. To celebrate the achievement of the telescope, NASA has released 30 newly created images, some of which show stunning images from the Caldwell catalog.
Watch the video below showing and discussing the new images made by the Hubble telescope:
The use of the Hubble telescope enabled imaging of most of the Caldwell catalog, which consists of 109 star clusters, nebulae and galaxies. In fact, 87 of the 109 Caldwell objects were captured by the telescope. Some of the most striking images are those of a spiral galaxy located in the constellation of Boötes.
Using the Wide Field Camera 3 and Planetary Camera 2 in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light along with other instruments, the telescope was able to capture some beautiful images of areas of scientific interest.
The NASA team detailed the importance of the telescope:
Capture the glowing red clouds where new stars are forming, scattered across the galaxy’s sinuous arms. These observations … were made to help astronomers learn more about the gas in the starburst regions of the galaxy, as well as to better understand the structure of its nuclear rings.
Some of the constellations the telescope captures can actually be seen from home, however, the stars will appear darker than the vibrant images created by the Hubble telescope.
Fortunately, Hubble’s work is set to continue and NASA stated:
There is no fixed date for the Hubble withdrawal. Hubble will continue to work as long as its components work and provide good service to the scientific community.
In 2016, the telescope was expected to have five years of service remaining. At the moment, it appears that the telescope will continue to take images for as long as possible, and given that it has already tripled its life expectancy, Hubble could be in orbit around Earth for a long time.