On Edwin Hubble's 125th birthday, his namesake looks to the stars
Since the Hubble Space Telescope’s launch into space on Apr. 25, 1990 from the space shuttle Discovery, scientists have been able to observe the universe in a way that has far surpassed the views provided by ground-based telescopes. From its position far above Earth, the Hubble telescope has collected troves of awe-inspiring images of the universe previously obscured by the planet’s atmosphere, which distorts and blocks the light that reaches our eyes.
Over the years, Hubble has helped to shed light on many astronomical mysteries, including the age of the universe, the identity of quasars and the existence of dark matter. For the first time, galaxies, planets and stars assumed powerful visual representation on Earth, forever changing the way scientists and the general public study and understand space.
Named after Edwin Hubble, born Nov. 20, 1889, the 43.5-foot telescope is one of NASA’s most successful and long-running programs. Traveling at some 17,500 mph and powered by the sun, Hubble has helped to expand on its eponymous astronomer’s groundbreaking discovery that the universe is constantly expanding, lending support to the Big Bang theory. Hubble’s research also proved that other galaxies exist, leading scientists to hone in on the universe’s actual size by comparing their distance to Earth.