Happy Birthday Hubble

To celebrate, NASA has released the largest single collection of images from the famous telescope. See all 59 amazing shots inside

Today marks the 18th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, and to celebrate, NASA has released a collection of 59 new Hubble images (under the fantastic title “Galxies Gone Wild!”) that present galaxies in all of their volatile wonder.

We see them colliding, merging, spiraling away—all of the things that crazy galaxies do when they get drunk on spring break exist for billions of years in the universe. Thanks to the decision to keep Hubble aloft for another five years (a Shuttle mission planned for this summer will service the telescope for the final time), we can expect greatness from the world’s most famous space telescope well into the next decade.

For all 59 images, launch our gallery here.

All photos and captions are courtesy NASA via hubblesite.org.

NGC 6050/IC 1179 (Arp 272) is a remarkable collision between two spiral galaxies, NGC 6050 and IC 1179, and is part of the Hercules Galaxy Cluster, located in the constellation of Hercules. The galaxy cluster is part of the Great Wall of clusters and superclusters, the largest known structure in the universe. The two spiral galaxies are linked by their swirling arms. Arp 272 is located some 450 million light-years away from Earth and is the number 272 in Arp’s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. NASA/ESA
IRAS F10565+2448 is a system that appears to consist of two colliding galaxies. The larger galaxy has dust lanes, while the smaller galaxy has a pronounced curved tail that has been pulled away from the center (downwards as seen here). IRAS F10565+2448 is located in the constellation of Leo, the Lion, about 600 million light-years away. Some scientists regard this system as a candidate for a three-galaxy system. The nature of the third object is unknown. NASA/ESA
NGC 520 is the product of a collision between two disk galaxies that started 300 million years ago. It exemplifies the middle stages of the merging process: the disks of the parent galaxies have merged together, but the nuclei have not yet coalesced. It features an odd-looking tail of stars and a prominent dust lane that runs diagonally across the center of the image and obscures the galaxy. NGC 520 is one of the brightest galaxy pairs on the sky, and can be observed with a small telescope toward the constellation of Pisces, the Fish, having the appearance of a comet. It is about 100 million light-years away and about 100,000 light-years across. The galaxy pair is included in Arp’s catalog of peculiar galaxies as Arp 157. NASA/ESA
NGC 5331 is a pair of interacting galaxies beginning to hold their arms . There is a blue trail which appears in the image flowing to the right of the system. NGC 5331 is very bright in the infrared, with about a hundred billion times the luminosity of the Sun. It is located in the constellation Virgo, the Maiden, about 450 million light-years away from Earth. NASA/ESA
This is a stunning pair of interacting galaxies, the barred spiral Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 7469 (Arp 298, Mrk 1514), a luminous infrared source with a powerful starburst deeply embedded into its circumnuclear region, and its smaller companion IC 5283. This system is located about 200 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus, the Winged Horse. NASA/ESA