Hubble celebrates its 30th anniversary with a snapshot of two nebulae

Hubble celebrates its 30th anniversary with a snapshot of two nebulae
Hubble celebrates its 30th anniversary with a snapshot of two nebulae

NASA has published a new image of the Hubble Space Telescope, taken to mark the observatory's 30th anniversary in space. It shows two nebulae from a large star-forming region in our neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy, according to the observatory's website.

Hubble is the most famous and efficient orbiting observatory in operation today. It was launched into space on April 24, 1990, and over three decades of work in low-earth orbit conducted 1.4 million observation sessions.

The total amount of accumulated data is tens of terabytes, they were used to write more than 17 thousand scientific articles in the field of astrophysics and cosmology. In particular, the observations carried out by the telescope played a key role in the discovery of the accelerated expansion of the Universe, you can read about this in our material "Worked at 52". So far, the scientific program of the telescope, which has already been repeatedly extended, has been calculated until June 2021. It is expected that in the future it will be replaced by the new space observatory "James Webb".

For the thirtieth anniversary of its operation, the telescope received a new image, dubbed "Cosmic Reef", which shows two nebulae NGC 2014 and NGC 2020, located in a large region of star formation in the Large Magellanic Cloud. This galaxy-satellite of the Milky Way is located at a distance of about 163 thousand light-years from the Sun.

In the central part of NGC 2014, a group of bright, massive stars is visible, which, with powerful stellar winds, cleared the space around them of gas and dust, forming "bubbles", and gradually destroying a nearby large cloud of gas. Ultraviolet radiation from stars ionizes hydrogen in the nebula, causing it to glow. The nebula NGC 2020 was formed by the Wolf-Rayet star, which is 15 times more massive than the Sun and about 200 thousand times brighter than it. The star is actively losing its substance in the form of powerful stellar winds and in a few million years it may explode as a supernova.

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