Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 15 years

Forty sites around the United States are unveiling special exhibits Monday to mark Sunday's 15th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope. The images were meant to remain unseen until Monday, but were provided in advance to some media outlets and were posted to a British Web site Friday afternoon.

The Delta College in Bay City, Mich., is putting two mural images, the local Bay City Times reported. The photographs of the Whirlpool Galaxy, also known as M51, and the Eagle Nebula are the largest, most detailed images released by the Hubble Institute, according to NASA.

The telescope's initial work was flawed by an improperly ground mirror, but a visit from the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>space shuttle let astronauts install a new camera and a device to correct for the mirror's flaws. After that, the images began flooding in at up to 10 times sharper than any previous photograph, publishes the Globe and Mail.

During its 15 years in service the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Hubble Space Telescope took more than 700,000 photos of the universe.

For the 15th anniversary, scientists used the ACS to record a new region of the eerie-looking Eagle Nebula. The Eagle Nebula image reveals a tall, dense tower of gas being sculpted by ultraviolet light from a group of massive, hot stars.

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