Eye of the Beholder

Hubble was created to dispense with the biggest problem in astronomy, the interference caused by earth’s atmosphere. The project was almost a failure because of a fatal problem with the camera, the lens was misshapen. A daring rescue turned a billion dollar failure into the most stunning instrument ever created for studying the universe. Universe in Bloom – Monet had his water lilies, Hubble has its planetary nebula, the most colourful, delicate and beautiful objects in the universe. Each of these cosmic butterflies is composed of a puff of gas, expelled and illuminated by a dying star. They come in a variety of shapes, which helps astronomers understand what the stars were doing in their final stages of life. They also seed the galaxy with the dust and molecules that will eventually become a part of a new generation of stars.