Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hubble Space Telescope @ 20 Years

The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 20th year in service to the human race today. The HST has been a fascination for me since it was launched in 1990, when I was still a small child. I remember going with school to the newly opened IMAX Theatre in Cape Town, somewhere in the mid-90s, and watching an astronomy presentation filled with those wondrous images from Hubble. I could never help thinking... How insignificant we are to that grand scheme of everything - the Universe.

Hubble instills humility and humbleness in me every time I gaze upon its amazing images. They take me to a place where I can dream and wonder the beauty and vastness of space. For the past two decades, Hubble has been a significant contributor to the advancement of human understanding of the world, and the Universe in which we reside.

It has discerned the age of the Universe - by measuring the speed at which it expands. It has shown that even in the tiniest and darkest speck of the sky, there are potentially thousands upon thousands of galaxies floating in the heavens - how can we be alone? It is now even looking at measuring and cataloguing Dark Matter - which forms the gel or foundation to the Universe.

Thank you Hubble. And may your retirement be as glorious as you have painted the Universe to be.

Image source: NASA, European Space Agency

No comments: