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Surfing the Cosmic Reef

24 Apr 2020, 11:00 UTC
Surfing the Cosmic Reef
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This blog post is one in a series marking the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. For more information and resources regarding Hubble’s 30th anniversary, please visit hubblesite.

Thirty years is a long time. In fact, thirty years is roughly the span of a generation. Thus, it is no exaggeration to say that an entire generation of people have had their perception of the universe shaped by the Hubble Space Telescope’s keen vision. Three decades in orbit and still going strong, Hubble continues to provide us with spectacular cosmic vistas (and take a look at Ray Villard’s recent post for more on Hubble’s history). To mark this significant milestone in Hubble’s journey, we wanted to produce another iconic view of the universe that only Hubble could provide.

The Hubble Space Telescope photographed by the astronauts of Servicing Mission 3B

Before he retired in 2018, Hubble image guru Zolt Levay had investigated several potential targets suitable for the thirtieth anniversary. Out of curiosity and a fascination with numerology, he looked into potential numerical coincidences in the New General Catalogue (NGC). Naturally, with the anniversary falling in the year 2020, he looked at NGC 2020, located just ...

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