Hubble Telescope Turns 22, Offers Up Incredible Tarantula Nebula Photos

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April 18 2012 2:40 PM

Hubble Turns 22, Offers Up Incredible Tarantula Nebula Photos

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New photos released ahead of the Hubble Space Telescope's 22nd birthday, show a giant mosaic image of the Tarantula Nebula. In this photo, a similar image of the Crab Nebula.

Photo by NASA via Getty Images

Happy birthday Hubble, and what a present the 22-year-old telescope has given the world.

This image, actually made with one of the largest photo mosaics ever created by Hubble, shows a panoramic view of part of the giant Tarantula nebula called 30 Doradus. 30 Doradus is brightest star-forming region in our galaxy, home to some of the most massive stars known to man.

Though 170,000 light years away, the gas and heat fertile region’s new stars make it so brilliant it can be seen with regular binoculars.

Hubble does it best though, showing giant pillars of red hydrogen and blue oxygen in this area that scientists have long studied to understand how stars are created and evolve.

NASA launched the telescope into space on April 24, 1990, and the twentysomething has been wowing us with gorgeous photos of myriad galaxies ever since. What will Hubble show us once it’s middle-aged? Who knows, but so far the telescope is maturing nicely.

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Video produced by Krishnan Vasuvedan.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.

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