Our “Photo of the Day” was taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and reveals previously unseen details of the Keyhole Nebula, a mysterious, complex structure within the Carina Nebula, some 8,000 light-years from Earth. Named by the 19th-century astronomer John Herschel, the Keyhole Nebula is a swirling cloud of gas and dust with a hole near its center. It can be seen from the Southern Hemisphere with a small telescope or, on a clear, moonless night, with the naked eye.
Launched in 1990, the Hubble telescope has revolutionized astronomy. Its unprecedented power means it can take sharp, breathtaking pictures. By allowing astronomers to see billions of light-years away in great detail, the Hubble has changed our understanding of the universe. NASA plans to operate the telescope, now 24 years old, as long as its systems continue running well.