By now, you probably all know that the Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after its repairs in May. (Notwithstanding its imaging of the Jupiter impact in July, which was done by taking time out of its calibration phase.) The repairs did not merely replace aging instruments, but replaced them with better instruments incorporating advances in technology. It shows, with recently released images revealing more details than ever before. And what's more is that each image requires a lot less time to be taken, which means more observations can be done by Hubble.
As an example of how much the Hubble Space Telescope has improved, compare images of NGC 6302, the Butterfly Nebula, taken before and after the repairs:
Happy 100,000th birthday, Hubble! And I'm talking about the Hubble Space Telescope, not the astronomer Edwin Hubble, and I'm talking in terms of Hubble years in a geocentric model, where one Hubble year equals one revolution around the Earth. The space observatory has made more than 100,000 orbits around the Earth, and in more familiar terms, it has been in operation for over 18 years (and yes, I mean 18 normal Earth years).
To celebrate the occasion, scientists aimed the Hubble towards the Large Magellanic Cloud and took images of a lively star-forming region 170,000 light-years away. Here's hoping for several more years of productive science coming out of Hubble.
Random musings in a variety of subjects, from science to religion.