On Christmas Day last year, NASA launched its newest telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope. This cutting edge probe is designed to look deeper into the space—and into the history of the universe—than any telescope ever before.
But the telescope that it was meant to improve upon—the famous Hubble Space Telescope—is still operational. And it is still blowing minds with its stunning deep space imagery. Case in point? Every year, NASA celebrates the anniversary of its launch—April 24, 1990—with a cool image. This year's is a total WOW pic. That's it at the top of the post.
Let's dive into what we're seeing in this magnificent image!
Say hello to Hickson
The beautiful grouping pictured here is a collection of galaxies known as the Hickson Compact Group 40. It was first discovered in 1982 by Paul Hickson, an astronomer working out of the University of British Columbia.
The Hickson Compact Group 40 gets its name from the fact that it is a uniquely compact, or tight, grouping of galaxies. Typically, astronomers find groupings of galaxies in much larger clusters. But this collection is more on its own. An island of celestial beauty in an endless ocean of stars.
Like we said, WOW!
It was surprising in 1982. And now, thanks to the clarity of Hubble, it's no less wondrous. Watch this video from NASA below for extra insights into this awesome sight. And Happy Birthday, Hubble. Long may you continue to bring us closer to deep space!