See What the Galaxy Looked Like on Your Birthday, Courtesy of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope
When the planet is going to hell, look to the stars.
NASA just gave the public access to hundreds of photos captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in celebration of Hubble’s 30th anniversary orbiting the galaxy.
The Hubble Space Telescope, often just called Hubble, is one of NASA’s most valuable space observatories, providing astronomers with a deeper understanding of the cosmos. Hubble explored the universe 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And throughout its 30-year run, it has changed the way we look at space, led to breakthroughs in astrophysics, and captured the most detailed pictures of our cosmos.
And now we get to see all those photos too. NASA’s new website feature lets you see exactly what cosmic wonders Hubble snapped on your birthday. If you’re lucky, you might get a snapshot of a comet or a solar flare lighting up the galaxy on your birthday.
Here’s what the stars looked like on the birthdays of some of Esquire’s writers and artists:
On January 21 in 2000: Reflection Nebula NGC 1999
“NGC 1999 is a reflection nebula. It does not emit any visible light of its own but shines only because the light from the star just to the left of the center illuminates the nebula's dust.”
On July 17 in 2002: Galaxy NGC 300
“NGC 300 is a spiral galaxy similar to our own Milky Way galaxy. Some of the bright blue specks in this image are young, massive stars called blue supergiants, and they are among the brightest stars seen in spiral galaxies.”
On September 23 in 2010: Galaxy ESO 243-49
“This edge-on galaxy, called ESO 243-49, appears to host a medium-sized black hole that might have come from a cannibalized dwarf galaxy. As massive as 20,000 Suns, the black hole lies above the galactic plane—an unusual location that suggests it originated somewhere else.”
On December 3 in 2009: Nebula and Star Cluster NGC 3603
“In NGC 3603, a glittering cluster of stars is surrounded by clouds of gas and dust. The cluster contains some of the most massive stars known. These huge stars live fast and die young, ultimately ending their lives in supernova explosions.”