The Hubble Space Telescope is celebrating 25 years of taking stunning images and providing a platform for a new generation of space-based astronomy.

The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) will hold a symposium from April 20 - 23, celebrating a quarter century in space for the orbiting observatory. This event will include a teleconference with scientists discussing the impact the HST has had on astronomy since its launch as well as how that mission could overlap with the upcoming James Webb Telescope.

"The speakers will discuss select scientific topics where Hubble has made breakthroughs from the studies of our own solar system, to the detailed observations of extrasolar planets, to the deepest views of the distant universe," STScI officials announced.

"Expect the Unexpected" is the third video in a series of short films by NASA created to mark the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope.

United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., designed several components for the HST, including a trio of Fine Guidance Sensors (FGS). These systems, which stabilize the space-borne telscope, must constantly maintain the same temperature - within one-tenth of a degree - over the entire orbit of the craft.

"According to NASA, Hubble has made more than 1 million observations, and astronomers using Hubble data have published more than 12,700 scientific papers. We are extremely proud to have been involved in making one of the most productive scientific instruments ever built," Andreas Nonnenmacher, general manager of space systems for United Technologies Corp., one of the designers of the orbiting observatory, said.

The Hubble Space Telescope has been used in the development of science, including discoveries in the far reaches of space as well as closer to home. The Advanced Camera for Surveys, fitted to the observatory in 2002, was used to examine energy from distant supernovae. Findings from this research altered ideas about how interstellar dust would affect this light. It also strongly supported the notion of an accelerating universe driven by mysterious dark energy.

Supermassive black holes, in which the mass of hundreds of billions of stars is concentrated in a body a tiny fraction of an inch across, are now known to reside at the center of nearly all galaxies, thanks to Hubble. Astronomers using the HST have also found a correlation between the mass of those back holes and how much "stuff" resides in the central bulge of galaxies.

The first atmosphere ever found on a planet orbiting an alien sun was also discovered utilizing the HST.

"Expect the Unexpected" is available for viewing on the Hubble Space Telescope 25th Anniversary website.

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