Ever since the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was sent to explore the universe 25 years ago on April 24, 1990, the human understanding of the space has changed entirely.
Today being the 25th anniversary of Hubble, NASA has released a glittering tapestry of young stars flaring to life in a befitting tribute to the vibrant space telescope that never failed to capture stunning images and streaming new discoveries.
The image above depicts the sparkling fireworks by a giant cluster of about 3000 stars called Westerlund 2, that resides in a stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina, taken by the Wide Field Camera 3.
Hubble will soon have a companion when the James Webb Space Telescope will join it in 2018 and both telescopes will continue working together for some time, says NASA, ruling out any possibility of replacing Hubble till 2020.
On April 25, 1990, astronauts aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery deployed the Hubble Space Telescope into Earth orbit. The journey of Hubble in the last 25 years opened up what was never known to the world and ushered in a new era of astronomical discovery.
Now, 25 years later, NASA is celebrating Hubble’s milestone as a space observatory with ground-breaking investigations revolutionizing our understanding about the planets, stars, nebulae, and galaxies to the very frontiers of the cosmos. NASA has organised a presentation by Dr. Frank Summers, Hubble astrophysicist, for the Astronomy Day 2015 Keynote Presentation on Friday at NASA.
The stunning image released on the occasion shows a dusty cover in near-infrared light gives astronomers a clear view of the cluster as the Hubble’s sharp vision travels beyond the dense concentration of stars in the central cluster, measuring about 10 light-years.
The giant star cluster in the picture is about 2 million years old, but contains some of the brightest, hottest and most massive stars ever discovered.
Some of the heftiest stars in the image are streaming stellar winds, etching away the hydrogen gas cloud in which the stars were born. The pillars show dense gas and dust, resisting erosion from radiation and powerful winds, said NASA.