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Happy Birthday Hubble: 25 Years Of Opening Our Eyes To The Universe

24/04/2015 11:57 BST | Updated 24/04/2015 11:59 BST

NASA's iconic space telescope Hubble, is 25 years old today. Happy Birthday Hubble.

To celebrate 25 years of exploring, NASA unveiled a stunning new image showing a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2.

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Launched on 24 April 1990 and costing $1.5bn, the telescope got off to a rocky start as it became quickly apparent that the mirror had a fatal flaw.

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Despite being one of the most precisely made mirror's in history, the edges of the mirror had been ground ever so slightly wrong. The cost of replacing the mirror was so great that instead NASA had to come up with a solution that was both financial and physically realistic.

The result? Glasses.

They gave Hubble a pair of glasses. OK so they were slightly more advanced than the ones we sit on, but the end result was effectively the same: cancelling out a defect with the original image.

Since then Hubble has been faithfully transmitting back pictures of the universe that we never could have hoped to see using Earth-based telescopes.

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Producing iconic images such as 'The Pillars of Creation' and the stunning picture of the Cat's Eye Nebula the telescope has become an integral part of how astronomers explore the universe.

Hubble Facts:

  • Hubble sends over 120GB of imagery every single week.
  • It travels at a speed of 17,500 mph.
  • Hubble is spectacularly accurate, capable of locking onto an object equivalent to a human hair from a distance of a mile.
  • As one of the largest satellites in orbit, Hubble weighs as much as two adult elephants and is around the size of a school bus.
  • More than 10,000 scientific articles have been produced as a result of Hubble's discoveries.
  • Since launch, Hubble has travelled over 5,000,000,000km around Earth.