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Hubblecast 38: Hubble in popular culture

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When Hubble was launched in 1990, every astronomer knew it had an opportunity to make profound breakthroughs in science. A few realised its potential as a tool for inspiring people with awe for the Universe. But could anyone have predicted how deeply Hubble would become embedded in popular culture? This is the Hubblecast! News and images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. In many ways the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is is the world’s most sophisticated digital camera. Over the years, its photo album has featured many members of the cosmic family — ranging from baby stars to elderly galaxies. With all these amazing shots of space, it’s easy to forget that Hubble is a superstar here on Earth, too. Hubble, for many people, has become a byword for "science". That’s why, this summer, we asked you to send us your favourite examples of how Hubble has been used, or abused, in the daily life of us earthlings. We liked some of your suggestions so much that we wanted to share them. Hubble snapped this glowing planetary nebula, NGC 2818, ejected by a dying star more than 10 000 light-years away. But this scientific picture has also inspired art and design — for example this striking electric guitar. The guitar isn’t the only example of how the world of music has taken to Hubble’s stunning imagery — there was also the cover of this CD. The picture isn’t Andromeda, as the name of the album implies… it’s actually part of the Carina nebula, and it looks stunning here, photographed with Hubble’s brand new WFC3 camera. Hubble also provided the cover to Pearl Jam’s 2000 album Binaural. This thought-provoking picture of the Hourglass Nebula has certainly made an impact – appearing also in the film Angels and Demons, on the cover of National Geographic and in the computer game Final Doom. Maybe Hubble gets under people’s skin sometimes. No, not in tattoos… though we did see an intriguing Hubble tattoo among the entries. But Hubble’s imagery has become so ubiquitous that it maybe influences us in ways we don’t imagine. The logo of the Firefox Browser, for example. Is it a fox running round the world? Perhaps, but to one person it isn’t. Were the designers influenced by Hubble’s iconic picture of the light echo around the star V838 Monocerotis? In the world of fashion, too, Hubble has made its mark. Hubble’s photo of the Orion Nebula decorated the designer clothes in Ruffian’s collection for autumn/winter 2010–11. Designed by Brian Wolk and Claude Morais, they were inspired by depictions of the cosmos including Hubble photos of the Orion Nebula and Van Gogh's Starry Night. And in Second Life, one committed fan has turned Hubble photos, including NGC 3603 and the Cat’s Eye Nebula, into this elaborate gown. The greatest entry of them all must be this one — "My Hubble" by artist Peter Hennessy, a life-sized replica of the Hubble Space Telescope, lovingly reproduced in wood. But maybe the most touching tribute of all to Hubble is how it has become so completely synonymous with great astronomy that even astronomers use its pictures as a visual shorthand for the Universe. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the huge Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory, the University of Manchester projected, what else, a Hubble video onto the radio telescope’s huge dish – turning it, for one night only, into the biggest cinema into the world. A tribute to Jodrell Bank – but a tribute also to Hubble.

Video Details

Duration: 5 minutes and 52 seconds
Country: Germany
Language: English
Producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen
Director: Olivier Usher
Views: 22
Posted by: esahubble on May 14, 2012

When Hubble was launched in 1990, every astronomer knew it had an opportunity to make profound breakthroughs in science. A few realised its potential as a tool for inspiring people with awe for the Universe. But could anyone have predicted how deeply Hubble would become embedded in popular culture?

More information: http://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/hubblecast38a/

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