Thursday marks 30 years since NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope into low Earth orbit with the space shuttle Discovery, and it’s been exploring the universe 24 hours a day, seven days a week for most of that time. The agency is celebrating the milestone by letting you find out which “cosmic wonder” it spotted on your birthday.
You can find out what it saw by entering the month and date on its site, as previously reported by KDVR, and you’ll be treated to an image of the discovery and a few details. NASA is encouraging people to share using #Hubble30.
For me, it spotted the “firestorm of star birth” as dwarf galaxy Kiso 5639 appeared in 2015. It’s apparently part of a class of “tadpole” galaxies named for their bright heads and elongated tails. I welcome my new birthday buddy, which will outlive me by at least 10 million years.
The telescope can only take images in black and white, but the images we see from it are all in color. It does this by taking several shots using various filters, and uses them toto help researchers. That’s how it gave dust and gas cloud a pink hue last month.
Last year, Hubble mission head Thomas Brown told Space.com that the telescope is expected to continue operating until at least 2025.