Hubble Space Telescope reached its 21st birthday. Given the initial problems with its lens, the project to watch our universe from outside of the confines of atmosphere has proven pretty successful. (Just goes to show, neither person nor telescope need be defined by youthful screw-ups.)Yesterday, the
To celebrate this milestone, NASA has found a particularly lovely pair of galaxies to photograph. Known by the mellifluous appellation of Arp 273, it consists of UGC 1813, on top, and UGC 1810, the one below, whose gravity has shaped the stars of its sister galaxy into the shape of a pinkish rose.
From NASA's press release:
"The newly released Hubble image shows a large spiral galaxy, known as UGC 1810, with a disk that is distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewel-like points across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot young blue stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in ultraviolet light."
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden commemorated the anniversary:
"For 21 years, Hubble has profoundly changed our view of the universe, allowing us to see deep into the past while opening our eyes to the majesty and wonders around us. I was privileged to pilot space shuttle Discovery as it deployed Hubble. After all this time, new Hubble images still inspire awe and are a testament to the extraordinary work of the many people behind the world's most famous observatory."
If the Hubble's done nothing else, it has reminded us, repeatedly, of the beauty and the wonder of the universe.
Photo and video via Hubblesite