Picture of the Day: Hubble Marks 22 Years in Orbit With Stunning View of a Star-Forming Region
By Rebecca J. Rosen
To celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope's 22nd birthday, NASA has released this mosaic image of 30 Doradus, a star-forming region 170,000 light years away in the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud galaxy. 30 Doradus is home to the most massive stars ever viewed, some more than 100 times the size of our sun. The region is bigger and more prolific than any in our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and includes some of the fastest rotating and highest velocity stars that have been observed. The image covers an area roughly 650 light years across.
Hubble launched 22 years ago on April 24, 1990. Its initial observations were out of focus due to a faulty mirror. In 1993 a team of astronauts repaired the telescope in one of the most complex NASA missions of all time. Since then, the telescope has provided some of the most dazzling pictures of our own galaxy, and those far, far beyond.