Hubble inspects a vibrant cauldron of stellar birth to celebrate its 33rd birthday

To celebrate its 33rd birthday, the iconic Hubble Space Telescope has taken yet another breathtaking image of our universe. The image, which encompasses a region of space in the Perseus molecular cloud, is vibrant and colorful from top to bottom.

NASA says that Hubble captured the image by peering through a veil of dust on the edge of the cold molecular cloud made of the raw material needed to fabricate new stars and planets. The image, the space agency says, highlights how messy the formation of new stars is within our universe.

Hubble has captured images of star-forming regions of space many times in its 33 years in orbit. One of its more recent images inspected NGC 5486, a galaxy absolutely rippling with star formation. However, this new image released to celebrate Hubble’s birthday is one of the more spectacular.

The image is comprised of three main parts — the bright blue star at the top that NASA believes is responsible for the “ferocious stellar winds” ripping through the nebula. These winds carry clouds of dust through the region as more bright and super-hot stars shine through it further down the image.

Even further down, the image showcases a deep peak into the dark nebula that makes up this region of space. It’s a beautiful explosion of colors that NASA describes as looking like a fireworks finale — a description that feels apt when taking it all in. It’s a beautiful image worthy of celebrating Hubble’s latest birthday in orbit.

Hubble birthday image of dark nebula NGC 1333

The Hubble space telescope reached orbit on April 25, 1990. NASA says that the observatory has taken over 1.6 million observations of nearly 52,000 stellar targets since its launch. The telescope has helped us learn a lot about our universe, and while the James Webb is much more powerful, this latest image showcases just how powerful Hubble still is.

It may be celebrating its 33rd birthday in orbit, but Hubble still has a lot of fight left in it. Hopefully, we’ll see Hubble get pushed higher into orbit, giving it even more time to observe the inner workings of our universe.

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