The Large Magellanic Cloud, photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope
Celebrating 30 years of stellar images
On this day in 1990, the space shuttle Discovery carried the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit to begin capturing images of our universe, free from the obstructions of clouds and the distortions of the Earth’s atmosphere. Like its namesake, the great astronomer Edwin Hubble, the Hubble Space Telescope has transformed our understanding of the cosmos. Some of the telescope's greatest contributions include its Deep Field Images, which look back billions of lightyears, or its jaw-dropping images of objects closer to home.
The picture on today’s homepage shows a maelstrom of glowing gas and dark dust within one of the Milky Way’s satellite galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud. Nasa estimates that Hubble's mission will continue for another 10 or 20 more years. Next year, it will be joined in orbit by the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be able to peer even further into space, with greater sensitivity across more wavelengths.