Hubble's 30th Anniversary

Hubble, on the end of the robotic arm after it was captured in space, is lowered onto its berthing hardware in the cargo bay, with a colorful section of earth below.
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In 2020, the Hubble Space Telescope achieves its 30th year in orbit. Hubble’s unique design, allowing it to be repaired and upgraded with advanced technology by astronauts, has made it one of NASA’s longest-living and most valuable space-based observatories, beaming transformational astronomical images to Earth for decades.

Hubble has fundamentally changed our understanding of the cosmos, and its story — filled with challenges overcome by innovation, determination, and the human spirit — inspires us.

Throughout the year, we’ll celebrate the many ways that Hubble has brought the universe home to Earth with new images, videos, and documentaries, interactive features, social media events, and more.

To keep updated on all of NASA's Hubble anniversary activities as they develop, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, or use #Hubble30.

Hubble Anniversary Images

Cosmic Reef

This Hubble 30th anniversary image, nicknamed the “Cosmic Reef” because of its resemblance to an underwater world, shows how young, energetic, massive stars illuminate and sculpt their birthplace with powerful winds and searing ultraviolet radiation.

The giant red nebula, NGC 2014, and its smaller blue neighbor, NGC 2020, belong to a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located 163,000 light-years away. A sparkling centerpiece of bright, hefty stars — each 10-20 times more massive than our Sun — in the center of the reddish NGC 2014 unleash ultraviolet radiation and winds of charged particles that heat and shape the gas around them.

The blue areas in NGC 2014 reveal the glow of oxygen, heated to nearly 20,000 degrees Fahrenheit by the blast of ultraviolet light. The cooler, red gas indicates the presence of hydrogen and nitrogen.

The blue nebula at lower left has been created by a solitary, mammoth star 200,000 times brighter than our Sun. This nebula's gas was ejected by the star through a series of eruptive events as the star cast off some of its outer layers.

Hubble 30th Anniversary GIF
A large, red, nebula of dust and gas at the top right portion of the image with a small blue bubble at the bottom left.
This image, nicknamed the “Cosmic Reef,” was released on Hubble’s 30th birthday. The red nebula and its blue neighbor are part of a star-forming region 163,000 light-years away.

Rubin's Galaxy

This image, which kicked off Hubble’s 30th anniversary commemoration, captures a majestic spiral galaxy that's 2.5 times wider than our Milky Way and contains 10 times as many stars. It appears to have been sitting quietly over billions of years, birthing stars at about half the rate of the Milky Way. The galaxy, UGC 2885, has been nicknamed "Rubin's galaxy," after astronomer Vera Rubin (1928 – 2016), who studied this galaxy's rotation rate in search of dark matter.

Astronomers seek to understand the galaxy’s huge size, investigating whether the galaxy consumed much smaller satellite galaxies over time or built up its mass by slowly and steadily accreting gas for new stars.

A number of foreground stars in our Milky Way can be seen in the image, identified by their cross-shaped diffraction spikes.

Huge spiral galaxy UGC 2885, located 232 million light-years away in the northern constellation, Perseus.
This image of a majestic spiral galaxy, called "Rubin's galaxy," launched Hubble’s 30th anniversary year.
NASA, ESA, and B. Holwerda (University of Louisville)

This hubble image captures caldwell 78 (or ngc 6541), a globular star cluster roughly 22,000 light-years from earth.

New Caldwell Images

Hubble marks anniversary with 30 celestial gems.

An illustration of an astronaut helmet features with NASA's Curious Universe written across it. The background shows a grid in blue hues. Pink, wavy illustrations are across the lower half of the image.

Anniversary Podcast

Hear about Hubble's grand adventures.

Birthday Greetings

See who'd sent Hubble birthday wishes.

A large, red, nebula of dust and gas at the top right portion of the image with a small blue bubble at the bottom left.

Anniversary Videos

Journey through Hubble science and history.

A screen displays the text "Select Your Birth Date" with the option to choose a month and day and submit.

Your Birthday Image

Get a Hubble image for any date

Hubble 30th Anniversary Stargazing

Hubble Stargazing

Observe some of the same targets Hubble has viewed.

Lower -left quadrant is filled with rusty-brown dust cloud dotted with a few bright stars. Hazy pillars of gas and dust rise up toward the right. A bluish-white glow fills the lower-right quadrant. The haze is more transparent as you move toward the upper right corner. Background is dotted with stars.

30 Years, 30 Images

One captivating image from each year in orbit

Hubble 30th Anniversary GIF

Download Resources

Anniversary graphics and more

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Quiz Challenge

Test your Hubble science and technology knowledge.