This Sunday, the Hubble Space Telescope will celebrate its 26th year in space, and NASA has chosen a striking image of a massive bubble to mark the occasion.
The Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off on April 24, 1990, on a five-day, two-million-mile mission that deployed the Hubble. After the agency discovered that the space telescope’s mirror was faulty, it took another mission, this time by the Space Shuttle Endeavour in 1993, to correct its optics. Four more servicing missions followed, the final one in 2009.
In the Hubble’s over two decades in space, it has made over a million observations, and produced awe-inspiring images of the cosmos. The Bubble Nebula image that NASA released shows a nebula that spans seven light-years across and is located over 7000 light years from Earth. NASA says that the star that is forming the nebula is 45 times more massive than the sun.
“As Hubble makes its 26th revolution around our home star, the sun, we celebrate the event with a spectacular image of a dynamic and exciting interaction of a young star with its environment,” John Grunsfeld, Hubble astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, in Washington, D.C., said in a statement. “The view of the Bubble Nebula, crafted from WFC-3 images, reminds us that Hubble gives us a front row seat to the awe inspiring universe we live in.”