(NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)) SPACE What Did Hubble Capture on Your Birthday? New NASA Tool Lets You Find Out CARLY CASSELLA 11 APRIL 2020
Since the Hubble telescope was first launched in 1990, it has made more than 1.4 million observations of various stars, planets and galaxies littering our Universe.
As the school-bus-sized telescope whizzes around Earth at a breezy 27,000 kilometres per hour (17,000 mph), it can point itself towards a far-off scene with the accuracy of a laser beam shining on one specific detail of a coin roughly 320 kilometres away (200 miles).
Without the haze of Earth's atmosphere in the way, its lens can spot a night light on the surface of the Moon and watch events unfold in the very distant past, more than 13.4 billion light-years from Earth.
Every hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year, Hubble is busy doing something. Which means the telescope's back catalogue would have something cool for every day of the year.
For Hubble's 30th anniversary, NASA has created a fun feature. On the space telescope's website, there's now a function that allows you to type in the day and month of your birth, and see what Hubble captured on one of your past birthdays.
Screenshot of the new tool.
This fun tool will show you the most incredible cosmic marvel found on your birthday in the three decades the telescope's been in action.
Here, we picked a random birthday to see what image we would get, and the tool retrieved the stunning Dumbbell Nebula 1,200 light-years away, captured by Hubble in 2001.
Thanks to the 'more info' feature, this tool can also teach you a little something about the vast Universe our planet floats around in, and about the many celestial objects scattered throughout. Happy birthday!
The new Hubble birthday tool can be found here.