Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happy birthday, Hubble telescope

Like most of us, I am repeatedly dazzled by the images returned by the Hubble space telescope and new understanding of the universe that they provide.

I feel a personal tie to Hubble because I was at the Cape for it's launch.  A friend was on the crew and invited me to watch from the VIP area which offered one of the best and closest views.  

The night before the launch, a number of us got the privilege of going out to the base of the Space Shuttle launch tower.  It was completely bathed in flood lights. As I stepped off our shuttle van, I was frozen to the spot in awe.  It's an image that still staggers me.

And now, 20 years later, I say bravo to everyone involved in taking us to the edge of the universe and beyond our imaginations.

[From NASA: This brand new Hubble photo is of a small portion of one of the largest seen star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula. Towers of cool hydrogen laced with dust rise from the wall of the nebula. The image captures the top of a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being pushed apart from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks like arrows sailing through the air. Credit: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)]

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