Editorial | Published:

Hurray for Hubble

Nature Physics volume 9, page 447 (2013) | Download Citation

The remarkable space telescope reveals true colours — and a new moon.

Image: NASA/ESA/M. KORNMESSER

In orbit since 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has delivered some of the most detailed visible-light images of the Universe — such stunning images that they are star-players in the Royal Greenwich Observatory's exhibition Visions of the Universe (page 452), which is even proving a hit with mainstream art critics (http://go.nature.com/p1usot). It is undoubtedly a huge asset to NASA in communicating the wonder of astronomy, but, four years since its last service by space-shuttle astronauts, it's still delivering great science too.

A rummage through earlier Hubble data last month turned up a new moon for Neptune — its fourteenth, and the smallest so far. Also announced was the first detection of the colour of an exoplanet: HD 189733 b is about 19 parsecs away in the Vulpecula constellation, and it's blue.

With its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled for launch in 2018, Hubble will operate until at least 2014, perhaps even 2020. But its photographic memories will linger on.

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