(New pictures) NASA Hubble: Taking the best shots for 25 years

Space telescope never fails to amaze.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Happy 25th birthday

NASA this week will celebrate the Hubble Space Telescope’s 25th birthday, launched on April 24, 1990 aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Recently NASA updated of one of the telescopes most iconic images, that of the “Pillars of Creation” which are part of the Eagle Enbula. NASA said that this particular image is so popular that it has appeared in movies and television shows, on T-shirts and pillows, and even on a postage stamp. The updated image is just one of many newly minted Hubble masterpieces. Here we take a uodated look at some of the more recent items.

What impact has Hubble had?

The "Expect the Unexpected" video explains how the Hubble unlocked some of the biggest mysteries of the universe and a lot more.

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Reuters

New moon

The planet Jupiter is shown with one of its moons, Ganymede (bottom). Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed that the Jupiter-orbiting moon Ganymede has an ocean beneath its icy surface, raising the prospects for life, NASA said.

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Reuters

The Einstein Cross

Multiple images of a single distant supernova within a cluster of galaxies called MACS J1149.6+2223, located more than 5 billion light-years away. In the enlarged inset view of the galaxy, the arrows point to the multiple copies of the exploding star, dubbed Supernova Refsdal, located 9.3 billion light-years from Earth. The images are arranged around the galaxy in a cross-shaped pattern called an Einstein Cross. The blue streaks wrapping around the galaxy are the stretched images of the supernova's host spiral galaxy, which has been distorted by the warping of space, NASA said.

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Reuters

Smiley face

The galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 is pictured in this undated handout image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. As a result of the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, it seems to be smiling. In the case of this "happy face"?, the two eyes are very bright galaxies and the smile lines are actually arcs caused by strong gravitational lensing. Galaxy clusters are the most massive structures in the Universe and exert such a powerful gravitational pull that they warp the spacetime around them and act as cosmic lenses which can magnify, distort and bend the light behind them.

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Reuters

Boom

An expanding shell of debris called SNR 0519-69.0 is left behind after a massive star exploded in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy to the Milky Way. Multimillion degree gas is seen in X-rays from Chandra, in blue. The outer edge of the explosion (red) and stars in the field of view are seen in visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope.

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Star birthplace?

This image shows an elliptical galaxy called NGC 2865. It lies just over 100 million light-years away from us in the constellation of Hydra — The Sea Serpent — and was discovered in 1835 by astronomer John Herschel. Elliptical galaxies are usually filled with old, dying stars. NGC 2865, however, is relatively youthful and dynamic, with a rapidly rotating disk full of young stars and metal-rich gas. For an elliptical galaxy it contains an unusually high number of young stars — suggesting that a galaxy-wide starburst took place about one billion years ago.

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Out there

These Hubble images reveal a set of bizarre, greenish, looping, spiral, and braided shapes around eight active galaxies. These huge knots of dust and gas appear greenish because they are glowing predominately in light from photoionized oxygen atoms. Each galaxy hosts a bright quasar that may have illuminated the structures. The ethereal wisps outside the host galaxies were blasted, perhaps briefly, by powerful ultraviolet radiation from a supermassive black hole at the core of each galaxy.

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NASA

Andromeda galaxy

The largest NASA Hubble Space Telescope image ever assembled, this sweeping bird’s-eye view of a portion of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) is the sharpest large composite image ever taken of our galactic next-door neighbor. Though the galaxy is over 2 million light-years away, the Hubble Space Telescope is powerful enough to resolve individual stars in a 61,000-light-year-long stretch of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disk. It's like photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand. And there are lots of stars in this sweeping view -- over 100 million, with some of them in thousands of star clusters seen embedded in the disk, NASA said.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Eagle Nebula's "Pillars of Creation"

A bigger and sharper Hubble telescope photograph of the iconic Eagle Nebula's "Pillars of Creation" is seen next to the original 1995 Hubble picture. By comparing the 1995 and 2014 pictures, astronomers noticed a lengthening of a narrow jet-like feature that may have been ejected from a newly forming star. Over the intervening 19 years, this jet has stretched farther into space, across an additional 60 billion miles, at an estimated speed of about 450,000 miles per hour. The Eagle Nebula is 6,500 light-years away, according to NASA.

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Fermi Bubbles

These giant lobes, dubbed Fermi Bubbles, initially were spotted using NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The detection of high-energy gamma rays suggested that a violent event in the galaxy's core fiercely launched energized gas into space at over 2 million miles per hour.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Tarantula Nebula

A section of the Tarantula Nebula, located within the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), is seen in an undated NASA image taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. The LMC is a small nearby galaxy that orbits our galaxy, the Milky Way, and appears as a blurred blob in our skies, according to NASA.

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Ceres

Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt - the strip of solar system real estate between Mars and Jupiter. Ceres may have a rocky inner core, an icy mantle, and a thin, dusty outer crust inferred from its density and rotation rate of 9 hours. Ceres is approximately 590 miles (950 kilometers) across, according to NASA. On March 6, 2015, NASA's Dawn spacecraft will arrive and begin exploring Ceres.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

NGC 1433

A spiral galaxy known as NGC 1433 is about 32 million light-years from Earth; it is a type of very active galaxy known as a Seyfert galaxy, a classification that accounts for 10% of all galaxies, according to a NASA.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

NGC 4258

The spiral galaxy NGC 4258, also known as M106, has two extra spiral arms as seen in this undated composite image X-ray data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, radio data from the NSF’s Karl Jansky Very Large Array, optical data from the Hubble and infrared data from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

NGC 1566

A new undated Hubble image shows NGC 1566, a galaxy located about 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Dorado (The Dolphinfish). According to NASA, the NGC 1566 is an intermediate spiral galaxy. That means while the NGC 1566 does not have a well defined bar-shaped region of stars at its center, like barred spirals, it is not quite an unbarred spiral either (heic9902o). The small but extremely bright nucleus of the NGC 1566 is clearly visible in this image, a telltale sign of its membership of the Seyfert class of galaxies. The centers of such galaxies are very active and luminous, emitting strong bursts of radiation and potentially harboring supermassive black holes that are many millions of times the mass of the Sun. NGC 1566 is the second brightest Seyfert galaxy known.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Messier 5

A globular star cluster called Messier 5 (M5) containing 100,000 stars or more and packed into a region around 165 light-years in diameter is seen in an undated image taken by Hubble. Messier 5 lies some 25,000 light-years away and its stars are estimated to be nearly 13 billion years old, according to NASA.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

NGC 5793

The spiral galaxy NGC 5793, more than 150 million light-years away in the constellation of Libra is pictured here. NGC 5793 is a Seyfert galaxy. These galaxies have incredibly luminous centers that are thought to be caused by hungry supermassive black holes that can be billions of times the size of the Sun that pull in and devour gas and dust from their surroundings.

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REUTERS/NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team

Distant quasar

Multiple images of a distant quasar are visible in this undated combined view from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. For the first time, scientists have measured the spin of a distant supermassive black hole and found that its rate of rotation is about 3.5 trillion mph -- roughly half the speed of light. The finding provides insights into how the black hole and its host galaxy formed.

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NASA

NGC 6535

This image captures the stunning NGC 6535, a globular cluster 22,000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent) that measures one light-year across.

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NASA

NGC 4102

NASA says NGC 4102 lies in the northern constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear). It contains what is known as a LINER, or low-ionization nuclear emission-line region, meaning that its nucleus emits particular types of radiation. Many LINER galaxies also contain intense regions of star formation. This is thought to be intrinsically linked to their centers but just why, is still a mystery for astronomers — either the starbursts pour fuel inwards to fuel the LINERs, or this active central region triggers the starbursts, NASA said. NGC 4102 does indeed contain a starburst region towards its center, where stars are being created at a rate much more furious than in a normal galaxy. This star formation is taking place within a small rotating disk, around 1,000 light-years in diameter and with a mass some 3 billion times the mass of the Sun.

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NASA

UGC1281

The galaxy cutting dramatically across the frame of this Hubble image is a slightly warped dwarf galaxy known as UGC1281. Seen here from an edge-on perspective, this galaxy lies roughly 18 million light-years away in the constellation of Triangulum (The Triangle). The bright companion to the lower left of UGC 1281 is the small galaxy PGC 6700, officially known as 2MASX J01493473+3234464. Other prominent stars belonging to our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and more distant galaxies can be seen scattered throughout the sky, NASA says.