Hubble Space Telescope

Since its 1990 launch, the Hubble Space Telescope has changed our fundamental understanding of the universe.

active Mission

Throughout the history of science, revolutionary instruments propel our understanding with their landmark discoveries. The Hubble Space Telescope is a testament to that concept. Its design, technology and serviceability have made it one of NASA's most transformative observatories. From determining the atmospheric composition of planets around other stars to discovering dark energy, Hubble has changed humanity's understanding of the universe.

Mission Type

Space Telescope


Low Earth Orbit


APR 24, 1990


Understand the Universe


Hubble's Cultural Impact

Putting the stars in “starstruck”

Hubble and its images have become a part of our cultural landscape, appearing in film, music, art and much more. From tattoos to television and shirts to stamps, Hubble is woven into the fabric of daily life.

See Hubble's Cultural Impact Page
Leonardo Dicaprio in a sound room recording the narration for a Hubble movie.
Three-time Academy-Award® nominee Leonardo DiCaprio records narration for the IMAX® 3D space film, Hubble 3D.
Warner Bros.

A New View of the Universe

How did a telescope become a household name and change how we look at the cosmos forever?

With over 1.5 million observations and 20,000+ papers published on its discoveries, Hubble is the most productive science mission in the history of NASA. Yet the story of Hubble’s success starts before NASA even existed. It includes adversity, human ingenuity, heroic spacewalks, risk taking, and discovery. Learn the background of one NASA’s most famous missions.

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Hubble as seen from space shuttle
Astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis snapped a still photo of the Hubble Space Telescope after it was grappled by the shuttle's Canadian-built Remote Manipulator System during Servicing Mission 4. The mission left the telescope at the peak of its scientific capabilities, allowing it to continue furthering our knowledge of the cosmos.

Science, Technology, Culture: Hubble's Growing Legacy

From cultural touchstone to technological influencer, Hubble has left its mark on Earth

Hubble science has rewritten astronomy textbooks as its discoveries continually provide deeper explanations of astronomical objects and unveil new phenomena. But science isn’t the only way Hubble has impacted our world. From image detectors that are now used in the fight against breast cancer to science images that are used in Hollywood blockbuster movies, Hubble is embedded in our everyday lives and pop culture.

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The Hubble Telescope in space gripped by the space shuttle's robotic arm.
Held by the space shuttle Discovery’s robotic arm, Hubble is unfurling its solar arrays as it hovers over Earth during its deployment in April 1990. The technology in Hubble and in its ground system has been used for numerous other benefits down here on Earth.

Discovering the Unimagined

Hubble has not only furthered our knowledge of the known universe, it's shocked the astronomical world with never-before-seen phenomena.

When Hubble was launched, no planets around other stars had been discovered, Pluto had only one known moon, and dark energy was not even a concept. With over three decades of observations, Hubble has changed humanity’s understanding of the universe. We now know that black holes exist at the center of almost all galaxies, Jupiter’s massive storm – the Great Red spot – is now shrinking, light can echo just like sound, and the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate. Learn about Hubble’s great discoveries, understand the basics behind Hubble’s scientific capabilities, and explore its incredible images of the cosmos.

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a packed field of galaxies and curved blue streaks
Abell 370 is a massive galaxy cluster whose immense gravity distorts and magnifies the light of galaxies behind it. Hubble has used it to push its vision beyond its usual capabilities and see even farther galaxies. Such capabilities have allowed Hubble to change our understanding of all aspects of astronomy.
NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz and the HFF Team (STScI)

An Observatory for the Ages

Even after three decades in the harsh environment of space, Hubble is still at the peak of its scientific capability

Designed and built in the 1970’s and 1980’s, Hubble has far surpassed its 15-year life expectancy and produced science never thought possible at the time of its launch. Learn about Hubble’s unique design, the human spaceflight missions that have extended its life, and the ground operations that keep it as productive as ever.

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Photograph of the Hubble Space Telescope over the earth
This image of the Hubble Space Telescope was taken at the end of the final space shuttle servicing mission to the observatory in May 2009. Hubble's design for servicing, and the operations process on the ground, has allowed Hubble to continually amaze the world with incredible images and new scientific breakthroughs.

What Did Hubble See on Your Birthday?

Hubble explores the universe 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That means it has observed some fascinating cosmic wonder every day of the year, including on your birthday.

Check Out Your Birthday!
Hubble Nebula - Orion Nebula

Hubble Images

What's Hubble Looking At Now?

Featured Story

Hubble Sees Boulders Escaping from Asteroid Dimorphos

The popular 1954 rock song “Shake, Rattle and Roll,” could be the theme music for the Hubble Space Telescope‘s latest…

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