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AMAZING SPACE; Hubble telescope celebrates 25 years of scientific wonders.

Byline: LAURA CONNOR

FROM its unique vantage point 343 miles above the earth, the Hubble Telescope has sent home the most amazing sights.

Its six sophisticated cameras - some of the most high-tech ever built - have beamed back hundreds of thousands of images capturing billions of stars glittering through clouds of cosmic dust.

Next month NASA's Hubble - the first major optical telescope to be placed in space - celebrates 25 years of astonishing scientific discovery.

It's the length of a train carriage and weighs the same as two adult elephants and completes an orbit every 97 minutes at a rate of five miles per second. Its position outside the atmosphere gives it an unobstructed view of the universe impossible to see with the naked eye or ground telescopes.

IMPRESSIVE

And earlier this month it proved its continuing importance, generating the first images of light from a single supernova and confirming Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity.

Sky At Night presenter Chris Lintott said: "Hubble is the most important scientific instrument in history - it has transformed our view of the universe, and given us a window on everything from Saturn's northern lights to the first galaxies, forming more than 10 billion years ago. There isn't a single area of astronomy that hasn't been turned upside down - and the pictures are incredible works of arts too."

Here we look back on its most impressive findings.

laura.connor@trinitymirror.com

SMOKEY SHELLS

The ability to see this planetary nebula - or gas flying off a dying star - in all its bright brilliance is all down to the Hubble. Previously unable to be captured by a regular telescope this smokey light, taken in 2012, captures in stunning style the nebula NGC 7354.

STAR CLUSTER

Showing off its credentimages, Hubble has caubeauty in all its glory. Tof brilliant open star clulocated about 200,000 tials for capturing extraordinarily detailed ught this star cluster with its sparkling his image, taken in 2004, exposes a myriad usters roughly 65 light-years across and 0 light-years away.

EINSTEIN CROSS

Einstein's Theory of Relativity has finally been proved this month, thanks to the Hubble. Four points of light from a supernova explosion can be seen around a distant galaxy cluster from more than nine billion years ago. They formed through a huge mass of dark matter inside the galaxy bending light from the supernova - which Einstein predicted more than a century ago.

GRAND SWIRLS

The rich pink hues of this mesmerising spiral lead to Grand Swirls like this one, NGC 1566, a stunning galaxy approximately 40 million light-years away the constellation of Dorado, known as "The Dolphinfish". This is one of the brightest active galaxies. It emits strong bursts of radiation and potentially holds supermassive black holes, captured in this stunning 2014 shot.

ULTRA DEEP FIELD

Cutting across billions of light-years, this shot shows 10,000 swirling galaxies, making it the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever made when it was taken in 2004. The tiny red pin-pricks are among some of the most distant galaxies known and are only around 100 years old. The bright elliptical shapes show the nearest galaxies extinguished more than a billion years ago.

CRAB NEBULA

Hubble captured this six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a supernova explosion - which looks a little like a crab. The impressive shot came together from 24 individual exposures taken in 1999 and 2000. It is one of the largest images taken by Hubble and is the highest resolution image ever made of the entire Crab Nebula.

HORSEHEAD NEBULA

Also known as Barnard 33, the Horsehead Nebula is a dark cloud in the constellation Orion.

The image of this murky cluster of young stars rising like the head of a horse was taken in 2013. It exposes more than 100 types of gas with folds of dust gathering in their wake as new stars begin to form.s

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Eye in the sky: Hubble orbits Earth
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 15, 2015
Words:652
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