Happy Birthday Hubble! Telescope celebrates with majestic chaotic star birth image

Astronomers are celebrating Hubble's launch anniversary with a photo of a star-forming region located 960-light years away in the Perseus molecular cloud.
Deena Theresa
An inverted ethereal image of a nearby star-forming region, NGC 1333.
An inverted ethereal image of a nearby star-forming region, NGC 1333.

NASA, ESA, and STScI; Image Processing: Varun Bajaj, Joseph DePasquale, Jennifer Mack

Come April 25, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope will turn 33.

Ever since April 25, 1990, throughout its lifetime, Hubble has been privy to some spectacular happenings and the darkest mysteries of the universe.

The telescope has made more than 1.6 million observations of nearly 52,000 celestial targets, and over 19,000 peer-reviewed scientific papers have been published on its discoveries.

Hubble has looked back into our universe's distant past to locations dating back more than 13.4 billion light-years from Earth, discovered moons around Pluto, watched a comet crash into Jupiter, found stellar nurseries in the Milky Way that could someday become planetary systems, probed supermassive black holes and has enlightened the world about the universe, according to NASA. All, in just 33 years.

Not Hubble making the rest of us feel worthless.

The telescope continues to deliver. Astronomers are celebrating its launch anniversary with a photo of NGC 1333, a star-forming region. Located 960-light years away, the nebula is located in the Perseus molecular cloud.

Latest Hubble image captures glowing gasses and newly formed stars

All telescopes have a range of light that they can detect. Hubble can obtain images from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, and this has led to capturing an "effervescent cauldron of glowing gasses and pitch-black dust stirred up and blown around by several hundred newly forming stars embedded within the dark cloud," as per the press release.

The image is another reminder that star formation is a chaotic process. What you see is what happened when Hubble peered through a "veil of dust" on the edge of a cloud of cold molecular hydrogen. The latter is essential, it's the raw material for fabricating new stars and planets under the pull of gravity.

The image contains splotches of black, blue, and red. The blackness in the image is obscuring dust. Blue is formed when stellar winds, from the bright blue star in the image, blow through dust, which scatters the starlight at blue wavelengths.

Another bright, super-hot star shines through filaments of dust, resembling the Sun shining through scattered clouds. Accompanying stars in the background also look reddish, thanks to dust-filtering starlight.

And the ferocious reds? Hubble has captured the reddish glow of ionized hydrogen in the dark nebula. Astronomers have described it to be a "fireworks finale", with overlapping events. This is caused by pencil-thin jets shooting out from newly forming stars, not captured in the frame.

Circumstellar disks which may produce planetary systems surround the stars, along with powerful magnetic fields. These "jets" announce the birth of a star.

The view could be considered as an example of a time from 4.6 billion years ago when the Sun and planets formed inside a dusty molecular cloud. However, the Sun had a more frantic stellar birth, more energetic than NGC 1333.

Just another picturesque discovery by Hubble. Here's wishing the telescope a wonderful 33rd, and several more years of awe-inspiring findings.

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