sci20002 — Announcement

ESA/Hubble Celebrates Telescope’s 30th Anniversary

22 June 2020

Bethany Downer (ESA/Hubble)

The Hubble Space Telescope has become a household name over its 30 years of operation. The telescope’s science discoveries have revolutionised nearly all areas of current astronomical research, from planetary science to cosmology, and its countless beautiful pictures are appreciated and recognised around the world. On 24 April 2020, the scientific community and the public alike came together to celebrate three decades of Hubble.

After much anticipation and growing excitement, on Friday 24 April the 30th anniversary image of the Hubble Space Telescope was publicly revealed. The ESA/Hubble press release featured various supporting media, including two new special commemorative Hubblecasts that were created by the ESA/Hubble team for Hubble’s 30th anniversary. These documentary shorts were intended to reflect on Hubble’s impactful science discoveries and to feature the beauty of its memorable imagery throughout its 30 years of operation. They certainly evoke sentiments of nostalgia!

The new anniversary image was a hot topic of discussion throughout various media in print, radio, television and online, as well as on social media. It was clear that Hubble’s 30th anniversary celebrations were revered around the world and the ESA/Hubble team was delighted to be at the forefront of these celebrations. We were pleased to see that European news coverage of Hubble’s 30th anniversary and the 30th anniversary image represented approximately ​one third of total global news coverage​. Furthermore, roughly ​850 000 total direct engagements ​were recorded from around the world across ESA/Hubble and ESA social media pages for Hubble’s 30th anniversary content in April.

This anniversary also offered the scientific community and the general public the chance to reflect on some of Hubble’s biggest contributions to the field of astronomy and its most popular images. It also spurred further excitement for what’s to come in the telescope’s future, including simultaneous operation with the upcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope.

ESA/Hubble celebrated this important milestone with a variety of public initiatives on the occasion of this special anniversary. This includes the Hubble Space Telescope Hidden Gems 2020 Calendar that was revealed in January 2020 and whose images were chosen through a public social media campaign in October and November of 2019. Two weeks prior to the anniversary, ESA/Hubble invited ESA/Hubble’s social media followers to wish Hubble a Happy 30th Birthday by preparing a birthday cake. The food creations made across Europe and around the world were outstanding (and delicious)! Most recently, ESA/Hubble invited the general public to submit Hubble-themed artwork, of which a selection will be featured in future outreach activities. Over 130 beautiful artistic creations were received — stay tuned to see the results!

On 24 April two live events were also conducted. This included a Facebook Watch Party on the ESA/Hubble Facebook page, during which the community watched a series of anniversary videos. This event also featured three ESA/Hubble experts (Antonella Nota, Linda Smith, and Paule Sonnentrucker) who answered the public’s questions in real time throughout the Watch Party. The anniversary was also celebrated with a live event on the ESA Facebook page and ESA Web TV with a live panel discussion in five languages: Italian, French, German, Spanish and English. These discussions featured Hubble experts who reflected on the telescope's impact, the development of astronomy as a discipline, and the beauty and science behind the new anniversary image.

Unfortunately the synchronised unveiling of the anniversary image across Europe could not take place as planned owing to COVID-19. The supported host institutions still received their anniversary prints to be used in their public facilities at a later date, however, and they were also invited to host their own virtual events on 24 April and encouraged to contribute video content for the ESA/Hubble Facebook Watch Party. The various public online activities by these organisations that took place across Europe can be explored here.

The ESA/Hubble team looks forward to the various activities and releases in the months and years to come until Hubble celebrates its next milestone!


Bethany Downer
ESA/Hubble, Public Information Officer
Garching bei München, Germany

About the Announcement



Hubble 30th anniversary
Hubble 30th anniversary

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