back to article Hubble celebrates 21st with gorgeous galactic 'rose' snap

NASA is celebrating the forthcoming 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch with a fetching snap of a galactic "rose". Arp 273 - a "rose" of galaxies. Pic: NASA Hubble was lifted heavenwards on 24 April 1990 aboard space shuttle Discovery. Its anniversary photo was captured by the Wide Field Camera 3, under …


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  1. Purlieu


    Send a rocket up and get some closer pictures

  2. Winkypop Silver badge

    And all THIS was created in just 6 days?

    Amazing, almost too amazing to be true, eh?

    1. mrmond

      not a 24 hour day

      Not promoting either view but day isn't 24 hours in the creation accounts. Think more of "in my day" or "days of our forefathers".

      In other words, a time period.

      1. Steve X

        well then

        by that reckoning Sundays should be a lot longer...

        1. Mike Richards Silver badge

          Longer Sundays?

          If you've ever been to Wales you'd know just how long Sunday can last.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: well then

          "by that reckoning Sundays should be a lot longer"

          We're in luck. This weekend (and next) Saturday is on Friday and Sunday is 3 days long!

      2. Shakje


        It's subjective, with three main views:

        1) A literal 6 24-hour days about 6000 years ago. This would be the nutjob fundies, but also many people who consider themselves mainstream and are maybe a little older (and so don't have such a grounding in science) might have these sorts of beliefs.

        2) A set of 6 time periods which follow the literal view of creationism (i.e. different things created in different time periods). IIRC this is what the JWs believe, but it still runs into problems unless you reorder some stuff.

        3) The whole thing is metaphorical and was an allegory for an earlier civilisation to understand fundamental concepts about the religion. This would be the mainstream view.

        Being an atheist I obviously don't subscribe to any of these views, but I consider that I know enough about all three to argue over them if needs be (although it generally takes the first one or some attempt to justify the claims to provoke me).

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Thumb Up


          Hats off to you sir!

          I to am also atheist and have the opinion that you cant be a true atheist unless you have a good knowledge of all the popular religions. Only then do you have the right to argue against the teachings of popular religious groups.

          It galls me when people claim to be atheist and the only reason they give is that "Well, its a load of bol***cks innit?". Come back when you have read the Bible, Qur'an, Torah, Bagvadhgita and at least some books on Buddhism...

    2. copsewood

      @Winkypop: Too amazing to be a random accident

      The Genesis 1 account handed down orally for thousands of years before being written down uses the Hebrew word: yome in a poetic sense. The English word "day" is the closest translation, but the same word is translated into "age" later in Genesis, as in "Abraham and Sarah were advanced in age". An English language poet could also say "advanced in days" to carry the meaning of age with poetic effect. Besides, given people adapted to the modern idea of the Earth orbiting the Sun based upon this science being unrefutable by reinterpreting as allegory Psalm 93:1 "The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved", I don't see why it's so hard to do this in respect of parts of Genesis.

      If you read the Gospels, it seems pretty obvious which parts are presented as allegory (i.e. the parables) and which parts are not.

      1. Winkypop Silver badge


        Hmmm, methinks you are trying to invoke some special pleading here.

        Or at least, a bit of magical thinking.

        I used the 'joke' icon as I'm not a rabid-atheist, just a happy one.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        @copsewood: You mean...?

        You mean to say that the King James version of Genesis 1 is not "the unadulterated word of God, without any mixture of works"?

        /me is flabbergasted....

        (Well, maybe not so much....)

    3. Graham Wilson

      @winkipop - Cynical you--of course it was all created in just 6 days!

      Are you really disputing the great creation story? Are you no longer a true believer?

      Everyone knows it was all created in just 6 Celestial Creator days:

      ~821,250,000,000 'puny earth days' = 1 Celestial Creator day

      6 Celestial Creator days = ~1.3 * 10^9 puny earth years--or a smidgeon longer allowing for morning and afternoon tea breaks.

      No dispute.


    4. Ian Stephenson Silver badge

      In the beginning, there was nothing...

      ... which exploded.

      There fixed it for you.

      Grenade for the Big Bang.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        if the big bang theory claimed any sort of explosion as part of it, id probably turn to the bible for scientific answers too. fortunately it doesnt.

  3. Spongibrain

    Ain't you heard of relativity ?

    you can get an AWFUL lot done in a day, if you're moving quickly enough

    1. ravenviz

      Re: Ain't you heard of relativity

      Well actually, to an independent observer you'd hardly get anthing done at all!

      1. Stumpy

        el tit

        Sort of like BT workmen then when they're digging up my street...

  4. Hedley Phillips
    Thumb Up

    21 years of jaw dropping stunningly beautiful images

    Just amazing

  5. Ian McNee


    ...WOW! Nuff sed.

  6. Tim Roberts 1
    Thumb Up

    one of the greatest achievements of man

    Hubble would have to be one of the greatest of human achievements ever. Never before seen images, never before imagined clarity ..... I could go on. There are not too many technological advances of the scope and significance of this bird. I for one feel fortunate indeed to have lived through the "hubble age", and look foreward to more breathtaking images.


    1. Pirate Dave


      as a Merkin, I have to say it's good to see our government spending (or spent) money on something besides finding new ways to kill people and break shit.

      1. amanfromearth
        Thumb Down

        @Pirate Dave

        Actually, Mr Pirate, it's not done by you Americans alone. ESA has a hand in it too.

  7. Tom 38 Silver badge

    America's gift to the world

    With 15% funding from ESA.

    1. koncordski
      Thumb Up

      Looking at that....

      Make anyone else feel rather insignificant in the grand scheme of things? Stunning.

      1. Hayden Clark Silver badge

        ... and yourself,

        .. an invisible dot.

        On an invisible dot.

        Infinitely small

        (infinitely small, infinitely small).

        1. Anonymous Coward

          @... and yourself

          But, hey, I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox!

          1. alain williams Silver badge


            Don't believe you -- Zaphod would not post AC -- his ego just would not allow that!

            1. Graham Marsden

              Vell look...

              ... Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?

  8. Disco-Legend-Zeke

    Well, It Took...

    ...13.45 ± 0.11 billion years* from the Big Bang. How much time was used to design and build the Big Firecracker is somewhat moot, as Time is a property of our Universe, and may not have existed before the big celebration.**

    *Wikipedia says the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years. Less 300 Megayears that Hubble is looking into the past.

    **The attendees must be OOOHing and AAAAHing like I did when I saw this photo.

    1. sabroni Silver badge

      The Big Bang?

      That's definitely NOT the creation myth dressed up in some new clothes. No sirree. And the math adds up as well, if you imagine 95% of the universe can't be detected....

      1. copsewood

        @sabroni: The Big Bang is a religious plot ?

        The Big Bang theory is easier for most mainstream believers to accept than it is for some true atheists.

        True and forthright atheists (i.e. marxists) reject the big bang theory outright as "a creation myth". Real atheists believe in the steady state theory, which explains away the need for a point of time at which the universe originated. The lily-livered bunch who are willing to compromise their claimed unbelief with notions of the big bang are clearly ignorant of what true Athiest fundamentalists themselves accept, who see the big bang theory as a religious plot:

        "The big bang theory is really a Creation myth (just like the first book of Genesis). It states that the universe came into being about 15 billion years ago. Before that, according to this theory, there was no universe, no matter, no space, and, if you please, no time. At that time, all the matter in the universe is alleged to have been concentrated at a single point. This invisible dot, known to big bang aficionados as a singularity, then exploded, with such a force that it instantly filled the entire universe, which is still expanding as a result. Oh, by the way, this was the moment when "time began." In case you are wondering whether this is some kind of joke, forget it. This is precisely what the big bang theory states. This is what the great majority of university professors with long strings of letters after their name actually believe. There is the clearest evidence of a drift towards mysticism in the writings of a section of the scientific community. In recent years, we have seen a flood of books about science, which, under the guise of popular accounts of the latest theories of the universe, attempt to smuggle in religious notions of all kinds, in particular, in connection with the so-called theory of the big bang. "

        1. Yag

          Atheism as a religion...

          We REALLY need a facepalm icon out there.

  9. Steve X


    How can anyone *not* want to fund research and experiments that just might, someday, allow our descendants to get out there and see things like that first hand?

    Some politicians should be ashamed of themselves.

    1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      Ahh.. Amazing.

      The problem is that it only looks this good from a distance. It probably looks a bit like the Milky Way from inside.

      That's not a reason to not go, though!

    2. fch

      noone is interested in seeing these things first-hand

      ... that's why we have all that artificial lighting at night drowning it out.

      Try going out an amazingly clear evening in London (or pick any city of 500k people or more), look up and see if you can spot _any_ star in the sky.

      When you're in a place truly dark (say, the Australian desert, the peruvian Andes, even, gasp, rural Poland will do ...), the milky way, if overhead, does give you a feeling of being on a spaceship bridge, headed right into the galaxy. And you don't even need a telescope nor a spaceship.

      We all should be ashamed how little consideration we have for one of nature's greatest wonders - the dark night sky, and the quietness of night. You can't eat nor sell it, so I guess it's worthless all right ... at least we can get amazing savings on nighttime electricity !

      1. dotdavid
        Thumb Up

        Light pollution

        I completely agree, the night sky is breathtaking without all the light pollution.

        I read somewhere that installing simple mirror reflectors on lamp-posts helps a lot, not only making the lamp-post light the ground better but cutting light pollution enormously too. Maybe there should be some kind of charitable fund for installing these things.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Light pollution

          "I read somewhere that installing simple mirror reflectors on lamp-posts helps a lot, not only making the lamp-post light the ground better but cutting light pollution enormously too."

          They do and they do. Our local council farmed out street lighting to Balfor Beatie. We now have new lights across most of the borough, still an on going project. The streets are brighter at night *and* you can see more stars.

          Across the river, they still have orange sodium lights. The difference is quite remarkable, especially when driving over the brow of the A194(M) and seeing across pretty much the whole of the area.

      2. Steve X
        Thumb Up

        It's not rural Poland

        But I do have the good fortune to live in open countryside where lights are few and far between. There are nights that I stop to get the post at the end of the lane and the Milky Way is truly stunning. Then some swine drives by on full beam, and it takes ages to get my night vision back!

        1. Homard

          Early post then ?

          I take it your post is delivered early given the nighttime collection ?

          We get it delivered so late now it can be next to useless.

          Not good but I understand the problems.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      to get out there and see things like that first hand

      look up, it's there, in the big blue room if you turn the lights out.

      ok time delayed by 300 million years or so.

    4. Tom 38 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Amazing

      Yep, utterly amazing - but it's nothing that our descendants will ever 'see', unless they evolve to see lots of different parts of the EM spectrum, instead of just visible light - its mostly all fake colour to highlight interesting EM radiation, rather than visible light emitting sources.

      This is a good read on how they are put together, but we (and our descendants) are unlikely to have a BSG moment when we 'jump' to the Lagoon Nebula - it'll just look black, or maybe slightly grey. Space: its dark.

  10. ravenviz
    Thumb Up

    Galaxy spotting

    I love deep field images like this for the galaxy spotting, I have counted a quick ten in the image. Always a bonus when you find interacting galaxies or even gravitational lenses!

    Arp 273 now on my dekstop background! :-D

    1. Mike Moyle Silver badge

      Re: Galaxy spotting

      Is that the 21st century's version of tainspotting...?

  11. Olafthemighty

    Truly awe-inspiring

    That is all.

  12. Fred 4

    For $2.2 billion...

    according to Wikianswers :


    $2.2 Bilion, even with the cost of maintenance etc only $4.4 Billion (US billion - 10^9) is nothing for the returns.

    The first day of the Lybian invasion, alone, cost nearly $250 million (112 tomahawks @ $2mil each). One year of the Iraq (or Afghanistani) wars would provide 100 of these, with full support for 21 years...

    what a waste...

  13. I am replete.

    The Stalk of the Rose.

    The rose appears to have 2 major spirals or petals.

    Below is a similar object, but seemingly pointing downwards, reminiscent of the stalk of a flower.

    The path of this stalk is quite different from the paths of the petals, how can this be?

    Can anyone either is Register or NASA give a convincing reason for the stalk?

    After that, the hard one, we'll get onto discussing origins!

  14. I am replete.

    The Stalk of the Rose.

    The rose appears to have 2 major spirals or petals.

    Below is a similar object, but seemingly pointing downwards, reminiscent of the stalk of a flower.

    The path of this stalk is quite different from the paths of the petals, how can this be?

    Can anyone either in Register or NASA give a convincing reason for the stalk?

    After that, the hard one, we'll get onto discussing origins!

  15. Gadget Rage is BAD

    The Big Bang??

    All I have to say to that is BAZINGA!!

  16. scub
    Paris Hilton

    braw photys

    I like these pics, does any one know ( and I have always wondered) Does somebody add the colours in to make it more pleasing, or is this raw nature we are seeing?

  17. David Glasgow

    To me it looks a bit like...

    .... the Java coffee cup.

  18. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    @braw photys

    A bit of both, this was shot in three broad band filters, UV, blue and red - so it's a bit faked to show the UV bit still sort of realistic colour

  19. cloudberry

    is the length of a generation five years or something?

    So Hubble has "inspired generations of schoolchildren to study math and science" while it "has been documenting the history of our universe for 21 years"? I didn't know that generations were so short these days.

    Joking aside, Hubble is certainly a grand success.

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