On May 11 2009 NASA performed its 4th and final servicing mission of the Hubble Space Telescope. Today actually marks the 20th anniversary of Hubble Operations in space, and it is arguably had the biggest impact in astronomy over any other piece of equipment. Since it’s SO old, the 4 servicing missions were required to keep the instruments on board HST doing cutting edge science. The most recent mission kick started an old instrument that had been broken, and added a new instrument called the Wide Field Camera 3. Just to jog your memory, Hubble is responsible for the famous pillars of creation image taken from the Eagle Nebula (and that image was taken in 1995). That’s an impressive shot….and it was 1995.
Fast forward to 2010, and the new WFC3 does not disappoint. NASA just released some new images of the Carina Nebula that they are calling the ‘The Eagle Nebula on Steroids.’ I cannot believe the detail in this image. Doesn’t it feel like you’re sitting right beside the nebula as the gases and dust twist and turn together?