Before you, dear faithful worker in the skies, we humans were blind. You gave us our first look at what some call the "eye of God'' an astonishing star nursery called the Cat's Eye Nebula and caught by your own giant eye. So many mysteries we've become familiar with thanks to your work of 20 years. You showed us immense almost impossible supergiant red stars like this one below. It is the star "Monocerotis" thought to be in its nova eruption. Look at the detail you brought us!
And now, friend HUBBLE, your mission is ending. Your advanced replacement will direct us into worlds we can't begin to imagine, and which you paved the way for. Progress dictates that soon, you will receive your last command of so many thousands, to close your giant eye and turn toward earth, back to your home planet. Your entry will be a firey burn set to end in Pacific waters, many gigantic pieces crashing into that great sea. I can think of no finer tribute to you, our HUBBLE, than a display of some of your most startling pictures.
Above: A giant mosaic of the Crab nebula, as incredibly sharp as all these photos. These are the remnants of a star going supernova - it is 6 light years wide. Arguably one of the most intriguing, these are incubators where stars are born, this one being part of the Eagle Nebula. Pillars of creation.This is a field of ultra-deep space, with billions of galaxies whose light has taken 13 billion years to reach earth, making them some of the earliest galaxies to form in our Universe.Saturn. Without a doubt one of the sharpest images of her.Two galaxies gently swing past each other. You are looking 300 million light years into the past.Pieces of comet Shoemaker-Levy descending onto Jupiter's surface. If this had happened on Earth we would've been destroyed, which gives an idea of the emmense size of Jupiter. This perfectly formed spiral galaxy is in the constellation Pisces, not much larger than our own Milky Way - another spiral galaxy. And now the best for last:
A mystery and a challenge. This is DARK MATTER which makes up about 23% of the energy in the Universe. Normal matter like stars, planets, people - make up 4 %. The rest of the Universe is driven by something called DARK ENERGY.
Hubble afforded me so many choices of astounding beauty to show you, I could only choose what I thought the very best, for their clarity and importance. Soon, by the year 2013, we will launch the James Webb Space Telescope, suitably futuristic and a step into far outer space. It's "Wide Field Imager" has almost 20 times that of Hubble and at certain wavelengths is much more sensitive. But that is to come. I just want to say goodbye to an old and dear friend.
" vigilo astrum "