Hubble Telescope Celebrates 24 Years With a Great Wave
This composite infrared image shows a small section of the Monkey Head Nebula, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 during a series of exposures in February 2014.NASA / ESA / Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)
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Astronomers have caught a cosmic wave to celebrate the 24th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch.
Anniversary pictures have become a yearly tradition for the telescope, which went into space on April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery. The latest picture, released Monday, reminds the Hubble team of "The Great Wave," a 19th-century print by the Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.
This "wave" is a cosmic crest of hydrogen gas and dust in the Monkey Head Nebula, a star-forming region 6,400 light-years from Earth in the constellation Orion. Hubble's infrared view shows how the dusty cloud is being sculpted by ultraviolet light from hot stars in the center of the nebula. Check out these images from Hokusai (and Hubble) to put the picture in perspective.