Hubble-rose-21st.jpg

To honor 21 years of service from the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA released this photograph from December 2010 of two interacting galaxies that together form a space rose. In the Andromeda system 300 million light-years from us, Arp 273, as the two galaxies are known, spin tens of thousands of light-years apart from one another. "The larger galaxy, called UGC 1810, is about five times as massive as its smaller companion, UGC 1813," according to Wired Science. "Astronomers think the smaller galaxy plunged straight through the larger: UGC 1810's inner set of spiral arms is highly warped, a telltale sign of distortion by IGC 1813's gravitational pull."

"For 21 years, Hubble has profoundly changed our view of the universe, allowing us to see deep into the past while opening our eyes to the majesty and wonders around us," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden in a press release. "I was privileged to pilot space shuttle Discovery as it deployed Hubble. After all this time, new Hubble images still inspire awe and are a testament to the extraordinary work of the many people behind the world's most famous observatory."

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Image: NASA.

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