Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

August 8, 1995
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Columbia Waits, Discovery Launches
Credit: NASA, Kennedy Space Center

Explanation: Space Shuttle Discovery launches while the Space Shuttle Columbia is readied for a future mission. Space shuttles are launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. At this date there are four operating space shuttles: Atlantis, Columbia, Discovery, and Endeavour. This mission is most famous for carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit. The Hubble Space Telescope is the largest public optical telescope ever to operate in orbit, and because it is above Earth's atmosphere it's photographs are more clear than any ground based telescope. Hubble continues to make fundamental discoveries about planets, stars, galaxies, comets, QSOs, and the universe we live in.

Tomorrow's picture: Challenger Launches Spacelab 2

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Astronomy Picture of the Day (TM) is created by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell who are solely responsible for its content. Text copyright 1995 by Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.