Hubble telescope snaps stunning pic for its 26th birthday
Time to add another gorgeous space photo to the Hubble Space Telescope’s list of greatest hits. For the orbiting observatory’s 26th anniversary in space, astronomerssnapped a picture of the Bubble Nebula, a seven-light-year-wide pocket of gas being blown away by a blazing massive star about 7,100 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia.
The star responsible for the bubble is young, just 4 million years old, and about 45 times as massive as our sun. It is so hot and bright that it launches its own gas into space at more than 6 million kilometers per hour. The vibrant colors in the nebula represent the elements oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen.
Hubble launched April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttleDiscovery. A series of visits by astronauts have kept the aging telescope’s suite of cameras, spectrometers and ancillary equipment up-to-date and operating well into its third decade.