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USA Today: Hubble at 25 hailed as greatest scientific instrument

By Traci Watson
USA Today

[Excerpt]

kessler_picturingHubble, like human celebrities, owes much of its fame to alluring pictures. The world had never seen images quite like those released by the Hubble team: sharp, vibrant images of the universe that have been cropped, oriented and colored with an eye toward beauty as well as scientific validity. Other telescopes had released wondrous images of the cosmos. But Hubble's were better, and a nimble PR effort helped keep them flowing.

The images "evoke — and are intended to evoke — a sense of awe and wonder," saysStanford University's Elizabeth Kessler, author of Picturing the Cosmos, about Hubble's images. At the same time, "they look like actual places ... something we can imagine projecting ourselves into."

Hubble's very flaws also helped it claim a place in our hearts, say Kessler and others. Who could resist the heartwarming trajectory from loser to winner? Who couldn't help cheering for the daring astronaut crews and the telescope they rescued?

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