NASA's Starry-Eyed Hubble Telescope Celebrates 20 Years of Discovery

WASHINGTON -- As the Hubble Space Telescope achieves the major
milestone of two decades on orbit, NASA and the Space Telescope
Science Institute, or STScI, in Baltimore are celebrating Hubble's
journey of exploration with a stunning new picture and several online
educational activities. There are also opportunities for people to
explore galaxies as armchair scientists and send personal greetings
to Hubble for posterity.

NASA is releasing a new Hubble photo of a small portion of one of the
largest known star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula.
Three light-year-tall towers of cool hydrogen laced with dust rise
from the wall of the nebula. The scene is reminiscent of Hubble's
classic "Pillars of Creation" photo from 1995, but even more

To view the photo, visit:


NASA's best-recognized, longest-lived and most prolific space
observatory was launched April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttle
Discovery during the STS-31 mission. Hubble discoveries
revolutionized nearly all areas of current astronomical research from
planetary science to cosmology.

Over the years, Hubble has suffered broken equipment, a bleary-eyed
primary mirror, and the cancellation of a planned shuttle servicing
mission. But the ingenuity and dedication of Hubble scientists,
engineers and NASA astronauts allowed the observatory to rebound and
thrive. The telescope's crisp vision continues to challenge
scientists and the public with new discoveries and evocative images.

"Hubble is undoubtedly one of the most recognized and successful
scientific projects in history," said Ed Weiler, associate
administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA
Headquarters in Washington. "Last year's space shuttle servicing
mission left the observatory operating at peak capacity, giving it a
new beginning for scientific achievements that impact our society."

Hubble fans worldwide are being invited to take an interactive journey
with Hubble by visiting http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/Hubble20/.
They can also visit http://www.hubblesite.org to share the ways the
telescope has affected them. Follow the "Messages to Hubble" link to
send an e-mail, post a Facebook message, or send a cell phone text
message. Fan messages will be stored in the Hubble data archive along
with the telescope's science data. For those who use Twitter, you can
follow @HubbleTelescope or post tweets using the Twitter hashtag

The public also will have an opportunity to become at-home scientists
by helping astronomers sort out the thousands of galaxies seen in a
Hubble deep field observation. STScI is partnering with the Galaxy
Zoo consortium of scientists to launch an Internet-based astronomy
project where amateur astronomers can peruse and sort galaxies from
Hubble's deepest view of the universe into their classic shapes:
spiral, elliptical, and irregular. Dividing the galaxies into
categories will allow astronomers to study how they relate to each
other and provide clues that might help scientists understand how
they formed.

To visit the Galaxy Zoo page, go to:


For educators and students, STScI is creating an educational website
called "Celebrating Hubble's 20th Anniversary." It offers links to
facts and trivia about Hubble, a news story that chronicles the
observatory's life and discoveries, and the IMAX "Hubble 3D"
educator's guide. An anniversary poster containing Hubble's
"hall-of-fame" images, including the Eagle Nebula and Saturn, also is
being offered with downloadable classroom activity information.

Visit the website at:


To date, Hubble has observed more than 30,000 celestial targets and
amassed more than a half-million pictures in its archive. The last
astronaut servicing mission to Hubble in May 2009 made the telescope
100 times more powerful than when it was launched.
For Hubble 20th anniversary image files and more information, visit:



Source: NASA

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