Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its birthday with a cosmic crab

The Hubble Space Telescope, an international collaboration of NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), is celebrating its 29th anniversary in space on April 24 with an image of the Southern Crab Nebula.

Hourglass-shaped nebula (NASA, ESA and STScI)
The Southern Crab Nebula, as seen from the Hubble Space Telescope (NASA, ESA and STScI)

A nebula is a giant cloud of dust and gas in space. The Southern Crab Nebula sits in the constellation Centaurus, about 7,000 light-years away from Earth. To some the image resembles a crab, but to others it resembles a moth or a lady’s fashionable dress.

The telescope, named after U.S. astronomer Edwin Hubble, is expected to run at least another five years, according to a January engineering report.