It was 20 years ago today that NASA (working in conjunction with the European Space Agency) launched the Hubble Space Telescope into the heavens—well, a low Earth orbit, at least. I recall some of the buzz back then along the lines of “What a giant waste of money!” Once they fixed that mirror, it was smooth sailing.
I mean, look at this! NASA’s using this photo to celebrate the telescope’s twentieth birthday. NASA calls it a “turbulent cosmic pinnacle,” and it’s somewhere within the Carina Nebula. It’s 7,500 light years away from us here on Planet Earth. In other words, the image (the light) you’re looking at right now took 7,500 years to reach our eyes.
You quite literally looking into the past, ladies and gentlemen.
Or the other way around: let’s say there’s some sort of friendly Space Alien somewhere in the cloud of dust. He’s looking at Planet Earth with his telescope, and he’s seeing the year 5490 BCE. He doesn’t even know we have the iPad yet!
You’re encouraged to download the 12.01MB PDF to see the full resolution image.