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It has been 26 years since the Hubble Space Telescope was launched on Earth’s orbit. Even if it has been so long since being in space, the Hubble continues to be an important instrument for astronomers.

But for us ordinary people, the telescope continues to amaze us with the stunning deep space photos it takes.

To celebrate this event, researchers published a picture of NGC 7635, also known as the Bubble Nebula. This is the first picture taken by the Hubble comprising the entire nebula, and it consists of four separate images.

The Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635)

The Hubble will not remain the most advanced telescope in orbit. There are already plans to launch Hubble’s successor in 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope. Plans for another telescope that will be launched sometime in the mid 2020s, will have the same precision as the Hubble, but will have a visual field 100 times greater.

Even with all this advanced space technology, we can be pretty certain that scientists will continue to make new discoveries with the help of Hubble, while it continues to send stunning photos back to earth.

Below you can admire some of the most famous photos taken by Hubble:

A section of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The complete image includes 10,000 galaxies.

NGC 3603, a cluster of young stars.

The Sombrero Galaxy is 50,000 light-years across.

A close-up of the Tarantula Nebula.

The “peaks” of gas and dust clouds in the Carina Nebula.

The disk galaxy NGC 5866 is seen almost perfectly on-edge.

Two spiral galaxies passing by each other, but not quite colliding.

The remains of a supernova explosion known as Cassiopeia A.

Arp 148, a galaxy resulting from the violent merger of two galaxies that have collided.

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