Happy Anniversary Hubble!

Carina Nebula
Forty-eight images from the Hubble Space Telescope were composited to create this false-color panoramic view of central region of the Carina Nebula. The 50-light-year-wide swath reveals ongoing star formation among billowing gas and dust. Click on the image for a larger view; visit HST's website for even more detailed versions.
NASA, ESA, N. Smith (UCB) and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

To celebrate yesterday's 17th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope in orbit, astronomers released a stunning view of the Carina Nebula, an energetic star-forming region. The image of a 50-light-year swath of nebulosity reveals numerous bubbles of gas and dust among the debris left from long dead stars.

The vista was created using 48 images taken by Hubble's now-defunct Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) during March and July 2005. The ACS captured the glow of hydrogen gas, but the imagery was colored with observations from Cerro-Tololo Interamerican Observatory's 4-meter telescope in Chile. The colors in the image correspond to emission from sulfur (red), hydrogen (green), and oxygen (blue).

To probe deeper into the image, visit HubbleSite.org for higher-resolution views (the largest is more than 500 MB in size) and a zoomable version.

According to the Space Telescope Science Institute, Hubble has orbited Earth 100,000 times, for a total of 3.8 billion kilometers (2.4 billion miles), and has taken nearly 500,000 images.