NASA has unveiled "Celestial Fireworks" as the official image for Hubble Space Telescope's 25th anniversary. The photo commemorates a quarter century of space exploration and discovery since Hubble's launch on April 24, 1990.
"Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe," said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, according to a press release. "This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science."
The sparkling centerpiece of Hubble's silver anniversary fireworks is a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2, named for Swedish astronomer Bengt Westerlund, who discovered the grouping in the 1960s. The cluster resides in a raucous stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the constellation Carina.
To learn more about Hubble and the historic final mission to repair and update the telescope, check out HNGN's exclusive interview with NASA astronaut Mike Massimino.
For more Hubble celebration, check out Brian Stallard's piece "Hail the Hubble" on our sister-site, Nature World News.