The Hubble Space Telescope has been hard at work all these years. It will celebrate its 26th birthday this Sunday, April 24. By then it will be as old as “Shake It Off” singer Taylor Swift. As the indefatiguable NASA telescope continues to dazzle star lovers with pictures taken from deep space, the Hubble Space Telescope will retire in three years. The Hubble is literally man’s eye in the sky. It hovers on a geosynchronous orbit above the Earth, a satellite that behaves like a crazed paparazzi running after stars.
Perhaps if only the Hubble could speak, it would say come retirement day, that it’s a thankless job even as the gigantic telescope’s contribution to science is too numerous to enumerate. If so, the Hubble Space Telescope is rather like the harried newspaper journalist who’s only as good as his or her last hit.
One of the best things the Hubble has done is peer into the center of the known galaxy in order to confirm what Carl Sagan’s Cosmos has been positing in the TV series as a lurking black hole. According to the renowned astrophysicist, there’s nothing to worry about because the black hole is millions of light years away from Earth.
Another Hubble Space Telescope achievement has been announced just as Prince’s soul was leaving the Earth. Prince is barely 57-years-old. Like a mega star or many times bigger and brighter than the sun, the musician inspired countless singers to always strive for the best and achieve their individual style. One of them, of course, was Michael Jackson. In the case of Jackson, Bruno Mars has somehow helped fill the void that the music genius left.
Could it be that Prince went to heaven way too quickly after he died, and into what the Hubble Space telescope has just found “a really alarming gateway-style thing in space – the sort of object where an evil galactic death armada looks certain to come through.”
NASA further explains that what looks like a portal or another dimension in space is actually “a weird structure called the Red Rectangle – where a dying star is pumping out gas and creating a weird shape around it.”
When the Hubble exits the celestial theater in a few years, its replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope will become the new kid in the planet’s galactic observation post.
And perhaps to pay tribute to celebrities passing in order to remember them forever, future star discoveries should be named after them. Michael Jackson, Farrah Fawcett, David Bowie, and now Prince have been taken from mankind’s grasp. A star named after forlorn celebrities will make it better for people to remember them at any stargazing opportunity.
So far, one important thing that is known about humanity’s galaxy, namely the Milky Way, is that it has the biggest concentration of stars of any galaxy in the ever-expanding universe. Hence, the name Milky Way for the white streak that the galaxy conveys to possible star gazers far, far away. This begs the question, what is our planet doing in a galaxy full of stars? Is mankind’s continuing obsession with celebrity an evolution of humanity’s avid star gazing past?
Or perhaps man’s life is too short in comparison to the cosmic speed limit of a light year, all we could afford to do is look up to the sky. There are plans to conquer space, but so far, we are so far away from even scratching the surface of these plans. The best we could do thus far, in lieu of way too many challenges along the way, is to launch a nanobot into space in the hopes that it will somehow rendezvous with the Alpha Centauri, the star nearest to Earth after the sun.
To follow the logic of scientist Stephen Hawking, the nanobot will keep tumbling and floating in deep space (like a daffodil or dandelion in mid-air) until it finds an opportunity to hitch itself, bandwagon style, to the star. And to mark the Hubble’s 26th birthday, NASA just completed a four-part image of the Bubble Nebula.
As The Guardian reports: “It looks like a giant, glistening, soap bubble blown into the night sky. In reality, it’s a cloud of gas and dust 10 light-years across that exists around 8,000 light-years away in our Milky Way galaxy.”
“The picture has been released to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the instrument’s launch on 24 April. While the Hubble has previously captured the Bubble Nebula, this is the first time a full picture has been created from its images,” NASA explains.
No doubt, there can be many more stellar discoveries before the Hubble Space Telescope exits the heavenly realms and the James Webb Space Telescope takes over the reins. Still, for all its achievements, the Hubble Space telescope leaves a legacy that even a more advanced Cosmos-peering device will find hard to match.