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Hubble's new instant classic

For the telescope's 20th anniversary, NASA releases a stunning image from a new camera


With a smorgasbord of heavenly images and celestial targets to choose from, it wasn’t easy picking a portrait to celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope’s 20th anniversary. But after a debate that began last year, Hubble astronomers finally settled on taking a new, close-up portrait of part of the Carina nebula, a dramatic star-forming region that Hubble first captured in 2007 with a less sophisticated camera.

“We wanted to have an image that will be at least as spectacular as the iconic ‘pillars of creation,’ says Mario Livio of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, referring to a widely reproduced 1995 Hubble image of the Eagle Nebula.

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