Nasa Produces Stunning New Image Of Horsehead Nebula For Hubble's 23rd Birthday (PICTURES)

Nasa has released a beautiful new image of the famous 'Horsehead Nebula' in infrared light to mark the 23rd anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's launch.

Hubble blasted off aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24 1990, and since then has produced stunning images - and crucial scientific insights - that have consistently stunned the world.

It has also received numerous upgrades and improvements since its launch: the new picture was taken in infrared light with the Wide Field Camera 3, which was added to Hubble in 2009.

The Horsehead Nebula is described as "an apparition rising from whitecaps of interstellar foam", and was discovered more than 100 years ago.

Above: The equine-shaped object is located in the Orion Molecular Cloud, about 1,500 light-years away in the constellation Orion.

Nasa says it is one of the easiest star-producing areas of the night sky to photograph - hence its popularity with astronomers.

Meanwhile the European Space Agency's Herschel Telescope has also produced a new view of the nebula.

Though it is soon to be retired, the camera was able to capture a dramatic, multi-coloured picture of the Orion B Molecular Cloud, including the famous Horsehead:

Above: the new Herschel image

The ESA said:

"This massive stellar nursery reveals itself through the glow of cosmic dust in the interstellar material that pervades it. Heated by radiation from newborn stars, the dust shines brightly at far-infrared wavelengths, revealing a tangled network of filaments."

Take a look at more amazing space pictures, below.

Popular in the Community