29 years ago today, the Hubble Space Telescope launched aboard STS-31. Almost immediately, it changed how we see and understand our universe.
Its namesake, Edwin Hubble, utilized the largest telescope of his day to discover new galaxies. The space telescope has done exactly as Hubble did, discovering galaxies beyond our own.
With an unobstructed view, the solar-powered space observatory has probed into the previously unknown expanses of our solar system and universe, answering some questions and raising new queries all at the same time. The observatory continues to be a vital research tool for scientists around the globe. According to NASA, more than 15,000 scientific papers utilizing Hubble data have been published.
Hubble has made more than 1 million observations since its first on May 20, 1990 (Star cluster NGC3532). The school-bus-sized telescope, that now weighs roughly the same as two full-grown African elephants, travels around the world at a speed of 17,000 mph, snapping stunning shots of our universe with a pointing accuracy of .007 arcseconds.
To celebrate 29 years of Hubble’s observations, we have assembled 29 images that showcase Hubble’s powerful capabilities. Take a look at some of these remarkable shots captured by the first major optical telescope to be put in space!