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PLENTY OF SPACE OUT THERE; The widest picture 'ever'.

Byline: By STEPHEN WHITE

IT'S the widest, most amazing birthday picture ever.

A mind-boggling 293,788,819,875,776.4 miles across - or FIFTY light years.

This spectacular panorama was released yesterday to mark the 17th anniversary of the Hubble space telescope.

It shows stars being created trillions of miles away in the Carina nebula - some of them 100 times the size of our sun.

Biggest is Eta Carinae - pictured far left - which is approaching the end of its life before becoming a supernova.

The latest image, taken 7,500 light years away, is a huge mosaic of snaps from the orbiting telescope.

Pieced together, they reveal an inter-galactic maelstrom of space winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation.

Hubble - operated jointly by Nasa and the European Space Agency - has made nearly 100,000 orbits capturing images of the universe that have astounded scientists. The telescope - does not travel to stars, planets or galaxies. Instead it takes pictures of them as it whirls around Earth at 17,500 miles an hour.

It has already travelled a total of around 2.4 billion miles - the equivalent of a return trip to Saturn.

In nearly two decades, it has made almost 800,000 observations and snapped nearly 500,000 images of more than 25,000 celestial objects.

Its latest revelations came as scientists announced they may have discovered an Earth-like planet which could be capable of supporting life.

The new world - 20.5 light years outside the solar system - has the right conditions to allow water.

Its parent star, Gliese 58, exists in the "Goldilocks Zone" - an area that could sustain rivers and oceans.

s.white@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

293,788,819,875,776.4 MILES; OUT OF THIS WORLD: New Hubble snap; SPACE SHOT: Stellar storm
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 25, 2007
Words:295
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