Hubble’s Greatest Snaps
Here’s Hubble’s best year by year from HubbleCast:
Among the first images to be sent back from Hubble after its launch in April 1990, this image of Saturn is good by the standards of ground-based telescopes.
1991: Orion Nebula
Although not perfectly sharp, this early image of the Orion Nebula nevertheless shows the rich colours and structures of this bright star-forming region.
1992: Herbig-Haro 2
Throughout the region of the Orion Nebula are numerous streamers of gas that come from newborn stars, known to astronomers as Herbig-Haro Objects.
1993: Messier 100
In late 1993, Hubble’s teething problems were resolved in the first servicing mission. Before-and-after images of the core of spiral galaxy Messier 100 show how this dramatically improved the telescope’s image quality.
1994: Shoemaker-Levy 9 hits Jupiter
Soon after the astronauts repaired Hubble during the first servicing mission, comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter.
1995: Eagle Nebula
Hubble’s image of the ‘pillars of creation’ in the Eagle Nebula is one of its most famous. These huge, dusty structures enshroud pockets of ongoing star formation.
1996: NGC 6826
This image from 1996 shows a planetary nebula, which represents the other extremity of a star’s life from the Eagle Nebula. Planetary nebulae form when Sun-like stars puff out their outer layers as they run low on fuel.
NASA’s Mars Pathfinder probe was en route to Mars in 1997 while Hubble took this image.
1998: Ring Nebula
Another planetary nebula, the Ring Nebula is one of the most famous.
1999: Keyhole Nebula
The Keyhole Nebula, part of the larger Carina Nebula is another bright star-forming region.
2000: NGC 1999
Not all nebulae glow brightly. NGC 1999 contains a dark patch silhouetted against a brighter background which reflects starlight.
2001: ESO 510-G13
Hubble’s image of this galaxy shows the dramatic deformations that can occur after collisions between galaxies.
2002: Cone Nebula