Telescopes offer us a glimpse of things that are impossible to see with the naked eye. It’s truly awe inspiring to point one up into the night sky and see what’s hovering above us with such majestic balance. We are just puny little humans on a single planet in one of the immeasurably great number of galaxies that are out there. While consumer grade telescopes will allow you to see some amazing things, they just don’t compare to the imagery that we receive from telescopes such as Hubble. Check out some of the mind-bending photographic wallpapers on HubbleSite.

I’ve seen a bunch of Hubble photographs over the years, but the majority of content on this site was completely new to me. The Learn More link under each photograph is helpful for figuring out exactly what you’re looking at. Four different resolutions are available for all of the wallpapers except one. Place one of these photos on your desktop in order to help you appreciate the incomparable beauty of Outer Space.

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a telescope orbiting the Earth at the outer edges of the atmosphere. It is a space observatory in the Great Observatories program. Named after Edwin Hubble, it was launched into orbit in 1990 as a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency. Initial optical errors were corrected in 1993, and high-quality imaging began in 1994. HST is projected to continue operating until 2009, when funding is expected to be moved to the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Working outside the atmosphere has advantages because the atmosphere obscures images and filters out electromagnetic radiation at certain wavelengths, mainly in the infrared. By carrying diverse instruments and dividing time between many astronomical projects from all over the world, Hubble has contributed to an extraordinary variety of astronomical discoveries. Among the most notable are the confirmation of dark matter, observations supporting the current accelerating universe theory, and studies of extrasolar planets. A common misconception is that the principal benefit of observations from orbit is high-resolution — in fact the sensitivity to faint objects is the biggest advantage, and ground-based interferometric observations of bright sources have much higher resolution than HST. [Wikipedia]