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SYFY WIRE Hubble Space Telescope

See What the Hubble Space Telescope Saw on Your Birthday

The Hubble Space Telescope has a birthday present for you.

By Cassidy Ward
A still from the. trailer for Happy Death Day (2017)

Birthdays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, an excuse to exchange gifts and party like there’s no tomorrow. For Tree Gelbman (Jessica Rothe), that becomes literally true when she’s murdered on her birthday and wakes up to find the day repeating itself in Happy Death Day and again in Happy Death Day 2 U, streaming now on Peacock.

We’re not sure we’d want to live our birthdays over again (especially if the festivities involve being violently killed) but we do have a fun new way to revisit birthdays past, thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope’s impressive archive of deep space photography.

Hubble Space Telescope Says Happy Birthday to You!

The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most iconic space-based accomplishments of the post-Apollo era, having been our eyes in the skies for more than three decades. Launched on April 24, 1990, Hubble has spent the last 33 years in space, its sensors pointed out toward deep space. Except for repairs and the occasional downtime, Hubble has spent those years snapping pictures of the cosmos pretty much around the clock.

RELATED: Hubble Captured a Supernova at Three Different Ages in One Image


Hubble was documenting its existence and sharing the results with the public decades before Instagram was a thing. The telescope has racked up more than 1.5 million snapshots in the process, according to NASA. The images sent back have provided and continue to provide crucial scientific information, allowing scientists to better understand the nature of the universe. More than that, they are beautiful, and they provide an emotionally rich way for all of us to experience the cosmos. Because Hubble has been snapping candid shots of the universe for so long, it’s practically a certainty that Hubble was busily capturing cosmic photons while you were blowing out birthday candles.

NASA’s “What Did Hubble See on Your Birthday?” tool does precisely what the name suggests. You’ll enter the month and day of your birth — Hubble won’t embarrass anyone by asking the year — and the tool will return an image captured on your birthday alongside a block of information and links to the full image and more info.

These images, whether of nearby nebulae or distant galaxies, contain photons which travelled light-years across space, sometimes millions or billions of them, and arrived in our orbit just in time to celebrate your existence.

Other galaxies are pretty cool, but they don’t have movies. Check out Happy Death Day 2 U, streaming now on Peacock!