The Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating twenty years of exploration and discovery of the vast universe in which we are just a small part. Until Hubble allowed astronomers to probe into the deepest reaches of space, cosmologists could only guess the age of the universe to be somewhere between 10 and 20 billion years. With the help of Hubble the age of the universe is now given a much more accurate figure of 13-14 billion years.
Many key features of the universe have been discovered with the unique visualizing abilities of Hubble, such as dark energy, a mysterious force which accelerates the speed with which the universe is expanding. With the help of Hubble our understanding of how galaxies form has been advanced, as well as how solar systems and planets are born. Other planets have been observed orbiting their own suns in their own solar systems, proving that our solar system is not at all unique in the universe, something that was always conjecture, but never before actually visualized.
The amount of information spewing forth from Hubble is enormous, allowing astronomers to publish, as of today, over 6,000 articles based on data from Hubble. The Hubble Space Telescope has made a revolutionary difference in mankind’s understanding of the universe.