Happy 15th Birthday, Hubble

Hubble image
Wired News and Rednova report that

Fifteen years ago Monday, at 12:38 p.m. Pacific Time, astronaut Steven Hawley directed the space shuttle’s robotic arm to release the Hubble Space Telescope 381 miles above the Earth, launching an era of unprecedented scientific discoveries.

In celebration of the Hubble’s 15th birthday, NASA and the ESA have released some new images taken by the telescope, which can be seen in this gallery along with some other spectacular photos.

There was some good news a couple of weeks ago in regards to the fate of the Hubble Space Telescope when NASA’s chief nominee Michael Griffin said that he would “reconsider his predecessor’s decision to ban humans from repairing the ailing Hubble Space Telescope if confirmed for the job,” although that is far from the unconditional reprieve that most people are hoping for. At least there’s a chance to save this amazing instrument that has yielded so many wondrous discoveries and images…

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