NASA is marking the 28th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s launch with a peek into a wild stellar nursery.
Scientists released the picture Thursday in advance of next week’s milestone.
Resembling a vivid watercolor painting, the photo captures an immense, blindingly bright star emerging from its cosmic nest in a burst of ultraviolet radiation and stellar wind. This star, Herschel 36, is located in the Lagoon Nebula 4,000 light-years away. The star is 32 times more massive than our sun.
Hubble flew into orbit April 24, 1990, aboard space shuttle Discovery. The telescope has scrutinized more than 43,500 celestial objects and racked up more than 1.5 million observations. It’s circled Earth more than 163,500 times and traveled even farther than the distance from here to Pluto.