This magnificent Hubble image shows the Veil Nebula, one of the most studied supernova remnants in the universe. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Here Are 30 Jaw-Dropping Images Taken By The Hubble Space Telescope

See the beauty of the universe through Hubble's lenses.

On April 24, 1990, NASA launched one of its most successful missions since the Apollo lunar program, the Discovery STS-31 mission with astronauts Lauren Shriver, Charles Bolden, Stephen Hawley, and Bruce McKendels. and Catherine Sullivan. Their task was to launch the Hubble Space Telescope, created by the United States and Europe. This marked the beginning of a glorious age of photography and space exploration that continues to this day.

Most people know the history of Hubble superficially – “they fired the telescope and then NASA realized there was a defect.” It took several weeks before Hubble sent the first photos and the project management found a spherical aberration. Until their return, the Discovery astronauts did not know about the defect.

However, their mission was far from smooth. After the completion of the Apollo lunar missions, NASA astronauts typically flew in low Earth orbit, at an altitude of about 300-400 kilometers. But Hubble was to be launched into a much higher orbit to avoid falling to Earth due to friction with the Earth’s atmosphere.

Discovery rose 600 kilometers above the earth’s surface! This allowed astronauts to capture large and difficult-to-see geographical structures from low altitudes. Two IMAX cameras were loaded onboard the shuttle, which led to the release of the movie “Fate in Space” in 1994.

Although there are no problems with flying at such altitudes and filming the Earth, the real issues came with the removal of Hubble from the cargo compartment of Discovery. One of the telescope’s solar panels refused to open.

As ground commanders considered commanding Hubble to fully deploy its solar panels, astronauts Bruce McKendalls and Catherine Sullivan were preparing for an emergency spacewalk. In the end, there was no over-the-counter activity – the solar panels were deployed by sending commands from Earth.

After Hubble was launched into orbit, the shuttle moved some distance away as ground crews began checking its systems. Only the most basic systems responsible for the correct orientation of the telescope, flight control, and electricity generation were being inspected – the activation of scientific instruments and the first photos were planned for later.

That’s why the astronauts never knew about the mirror defect. The good news was that no other problem was identified either. Otherwise, the Discovery had to approach, retrieve the Hubble, return it to the cargo hold, and return it to Earth.

Discovery returned safely on April 29, 1990, and the astronauts, like everyone else on the NASA team, were looking forward to receiving the first image. The star HD96755 was photographed and sent to Earth on May 20.

Left: Aerial photo of the star HD96755. Right - A photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credits: Left: E. Persson (Las Campanas Observatory, Chile) / Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington; Right: NASA, ESA and STScI
Left: Aerial photo of the star HD96755. Right – A photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Credits: Left: E. Persson (Las Campanas Observatory, Chile) / Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington; Right: NASA, ESA and STScI

Although the Hubble image was arguably better than that of ground-based telescopes, the subject was blurry. The problem was found to be in the telescope mirror. Prior to the launch, it was considered to be the most precisely polished mirror, but it turned out that it was 2.2 microns flatter than expected – ie. with 1/50 of a human hair. Trivia, you say. But this trifle leads to a serious spherical aberration.

But NASA is not a space agency that will ever give up. Soon, they came up with a plan to save the space telescope. Of course, the plan took time – in this case, three years. Three years of jokes and devastating criticism! But during this time the COSTAR optics correction device was created. NASA’s choice for the design of the instrument fell on Ball Aerospace, which for the next 26 months worked tirelessly.

Finally, in December 1993, the Endeavor shuttle took off with astronauts Richard Cowie, Kenneth Bauersocks, Story Musgrave, Claude Nicolier, Jeffrey Hoffman, Mark Lee, and Stephen Smith. They successfully installed the COSTAR instrument and on December 31, when the telescope took pictures again, the result was completely different.

Photo before (left) and after the correction. Credit: NASA
Photo before (left) and after the correction. Credit: NASA

Finally, three years after the original plan, Hubble was ready to begin its real work which continues to this day almost 30 years later. Of course, over time, Hubble was upgraded and improved on several occasions accordingly with the latest technologies. In order to appreciate the real work of Hubble, we have selected 10 of the most incredible images of celestial objects ever taken by the telescope. Enjoy!

This Hubble image shows the central region of the Tarantula Nebula, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Crowther (University of Sheffield)
This Hubble image shows the central region of the Tarantula Nebula, located in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: NASA, ESA, and P. Crowther (University of Sheffield)
An infrared-light mosaic portrait of a small part of the Monkey Head Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The Bubble Nebula, scientifically known as NGC 7635. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The Bubble Nebula, scientifically known as NGC 7635. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Hubble image of Eta Carinae, a giant petulant star residing 7,500 light-years away from Earth. Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of Arizona), and J. Morse (BoldlyGo Institute)
Hubble image of Eta Carinae, a giant petulant star residing 7,500 light-years away from Earth. Credit: NASA, ESA, N. Smith (University of Arizona), and J. Morse (BoldlyGo Institute)
This Hubble portrait shows two nebulas - the giant red NGC 2014 and the blue NGC 2020 which are both in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: NASA, ESA and STScI
This Hubble portrait shows two nebulas – the giant red NGC 2014 and the blue NGC 2020 which are both in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: NASA, ESA and STScI
An image of spiral galaxy M100 by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 which was installed in 2009 during the last servicing mission. Credit: NASA, ESA, and Judy Schmidt
An image of spiral galaxy M100 by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 which was installed in 2009 during the last servicing mission. Credit: NASA, ESA, and Judy Schmidt
A veil of gas and dust known as the Ghost of Cassiopeia. Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI Acknowledgment: H. Arab (University of Strasbourg)
A veil of gas and dust known as the Ghost of Cassiopeia. Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI Acknowledgment: H. Arab (University of Strasbourg)
This Hubble image shows the powerful ultraviolet radiation of a monster young star located in the Lagoon Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI
This Hubble image shows the powerful ultraviolet radiation of a monster young star located in the Lagoon Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI
The magnificent Crab Nebula, remnant of a supernova explosion which was seen by Medieval astronomers in the 11th century. Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; VLA/NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI
The magnificent Crab Nebula, the remnant of a supernova explosion which was seen by Medieval astronomers in the 11th century. Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Dubner (IAFE, CONICET-University of Buenos Aires) et al.; A. Loll et al.; T. Temim et al.; F. Seward et al.; VLA/NRAO/AUI/NSF; Chandra/CXC; Spitzer/JPL-Caltech; XMM-Newton/ESA; and Hubble/STScI
The famous celestial lightsable located at an active region in the Milky Way known as the Orion B molecular cloud complex. Credit: NASA and ESA; Acknowledgment: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)
The famous celestial lightsaber located at an active region in the Milky Way known as the Orion B molecular cloud complex. Credit: NASA and ESA 
This Hubble image shows one of the brightest star clusters called Trumpler 14. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain)
This Hubble image shows one of the brightest star clusters called Trumpler 14. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain)
The famous Pillars of Creation captured in a near-infrared light image by Hubble. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The famous Pillars of Creation captured in a near-infrared light image by Hubble. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
A young giant star cluster containing some of the Milky Way’s brightest and most massive stars. Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science
The NGC 5189 nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
This Hubble image portrais the magnificent Ring Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
This Hubble image portrays the magnificent Ring Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Sharpless 2-106 is a small nebula located in an isolated region of the Milky Way. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Sharpless 2-106 is a small nebula located in an isolated region of the Milky Way. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Hubble image of supernova remnant 0509-67.5. Credit: NASA, ESA, and B. Schaefer and A. Pagnotta (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge); Image: NASA, ESA, CXC, SAO, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and J. Hughes (Rutgers University)
Hubble image of supernova remnant 0509-67.5. Credit: NASA, ESA, and B. Schaefer and A. Pagnotta (Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge); Image: NASA, ESA, CXC, SAO, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and J. Hughes (Rutgers University)
See the incredible shape of the Antennae galaxies in this composite image by Hubble and Chandra. Credit: NASA, ESA, SAO, CXC, JPL-Caltech, and STScI
See the incredible shape of the Antennae galaxies in this composite image by Hubble and Chandra. Credit: NASA, ESA, SAO, CXC, JPL-Caltech, and STScI
An incredible group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
An incredible group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The Star-Forming Pillar of Gas and Dust of the Cone Nebula. Credit: NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO)
The Star-Forming Pillar of Gas and Dust of the Cone Nebula. Credit: NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO)
An ocean of hydrogen gas, oxygen, and sulfur within M17. Credit: NASA, ESA and J. Hester (ASU)
An ocean of hydrogen gas, oxygen, and sulfur within M17. Credit: NASA, ESA and J. Hester (ASU)
The NGC 6302 nebula which was once a dying star five times the mass of the Sun. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team
The NGC 6302 nebula which was once a dying star five times the mass of the Sun. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team
Hubble image of the stunning Orion Nebula which is located 1,500 light-years away from Earth. Credit: NASA,ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team KEYWORDS
Hubble image of the stunning Orion Nebula which is located 1,500 light-years away from Earth. Credit: NASA,ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team KEYWORDS
This Hubble image shows the expanding halo of light around V838 Monocerotis, a star located 20,000 light-years away from Earth. Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
This Hubble image shows the expanding halo of light around V838 Monocerotis, a star located 20,000 light-years away from Earth. Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
HBC 672, a Sun-like star surrounded by dust, rock, and ice. Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI
HBC 672, a Sun-like star surrounded by dust, rock, and ice. Credit: NASA, ESA, and STScI
The stunning Abell 370 star cluster. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)
The stunning Abell 370 star cluster. Credit: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)
Near-infrared view of 30 Doradus, more commonly known as the Tarantula Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Sabbi (STScI)
Near-infrared view of 30 Doradus, more commonly known as the Tarantula Nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Sabbi (STScI)

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Written by Vladislav Tchakarov

Hello, my name is Vladislav and I am glad to have you here on Curiosmos. As a history student, I have a strong passion for history and science, and the opportunity to research and write in this field on a daily basis is a dream come true.

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