Happy Birthday, Hubble! Happy International Dark Skies Week!

Hubble

The Hubble Space Telescope launched 24 years ago today.

This image shows the star-studded center of the Milky Way towards the constellation of Sagittarius. Astronomers have observed stars spinning around a supermassive black hole located right in the center of the image. |  Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Brammer

This image shows the star-studded center of the Milky Way towards the constellation of Sagittarius. Astronomers have observed stars spinning around a supermassive black hole located right in the center of the image. | Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Brammer

Nearly 200 000 light-years from Earth, the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy. |  NASA image release January 23, 2013

Nearly 200 000 light-years from Earth, the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, floats in space, in a long and slow dance around our galaxy. | Credit: NASA

The constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear) is home to Messier 101, the Pinwheel Galaxy. Messier 101 is one of the biggest and brightest spiral galaxies in the night sky. |  Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

The constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear) is home to Messier 101, the Pinwheel Galaxy. Messier 101 is one of the biggest and brightest spiral galaxies in the night sky. | Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Spectacular jets powered by the gravitational energy of a super massive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy Hercules A illustrate the combined imaging power of two of astronomy's cutting-edge tools |  Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O'Dea, R. Perley and W. Cotton, and the Hubble Heritage Team

Spectacular jets powered by the gravitational energy of a super massive black hole in the core of the elliptical galaxy Hercules A illustrate the combined imaging power of two of astronomy’s cutting-edge tools | Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O’Dea, R. Perley and W. Cotton, and the Hubble Heritage Team

Astronomers have caught two clusters full of massive stars in the 30 Doradus Nebula that may be in the early stages of merging. |  Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI)

Astronomers have caught two clusters full of massive stars in the 30 Doradus Nebula that may be in the early stages of merging. | Credit: NASA, ESA, and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI)

Messier 10 is a ball of stars that lies about 15,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer). |  Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Messier 10 is a ball of stars that lies about 15,000 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Ophiuchus (The Serpent Bearer). | Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

If you’re running on Chrome browser, check out Google’s latest Experiment project – it visualizes the precise location of at least 100,000 stars in our Milky Way galaxy, using various imagery and data pulled from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA). For a frame of reference, there are approximately 200 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

April 20th-26th is International Dark Skies Week. How does your sky look on a clear night? Check out this website for tips on how to light responsibly.

Skies

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