This year I’ve found myself fascinated by anything space-related. I found this article yesterday about the discovery of an ‘alien moon’ – as in a moon outside our solar system. It described the moon (it’s as big as Neptune) and explained the difficulties in identifying celestial objects thousands of light years away. Interesting stuff. At the end of the story I got dragged down a delightful rabbit hole of Hubble telescope images after seeing them in the article… Then into a collection of anniversary Hubble shots…. Then to the 12 craziest Hubble pictures… Then sideways into Wikipedia reading about the telescope itself before noticing this:
This story describes the ongoing problems with the 25 year old telescope (which was last serviced in 2009) and how it will eventually be set adrift. Basically it’s coming to its end as predicted here in 2013:
Given the impossibly fantastic images that this telescope has produced, reading this made me more than a little sad.
The James Webb Space Telescope is about 10 years behind schedule looking to launch in 2021 but while we still have the good old Hubble let’s appreciate the way it changed how we are able to see the universe. Here are my top three shots. The longer you look at these the better they get.
- The Pillars of Creation – vast columns that make…stars!
- The ‘Sombrero’ galaxy…as in, a whole galaxy. 50,000 light years across, and 28 million light years from earth and yet we managed this picture of it.
- Two black holes start colliding – streams of particles, thousands of light years long, travelling close to speed of light. So cool!