FOR RELEASE: 11:00 a.m. (EST) December 4, 2018


Caption: This gif image compares the blurry, pre-servicing image taken with Hubble's Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1 in 1993, to an image taken in 2009 with Hubble's newer, Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, installed during the last astronaut servicing mission to the space telescope.

Credit: NASA, ESA, J. DePasquale (STScI), and Judy Schmidt


Over the past 28 years the Hubble Space Telescope has photographed innumerable galaxies throughout the universe, near and far. But one especially photogenic galaxy located 55 million light-years away holds a special place in Hubble history. As NASA made plans to correct Hubble's blurry vision in 1993 (due to a manufacturing flaw in its primary mirror, which created an optical effect called spherical aberration) they selected several astronomical objects that Hubble should be aimed at to demonstrate the planned optical fix. The magnificent grand spiral galaxy M100 seemed an ideal target that would just fit inside Hubble's field-of-view. This required that a comparison photo be taken while Hubble was still bleary-eyed. The Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1 was selected for the task. And, the picture had to be taken before astronauts swapped-out the camera with the vision-corrected Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2, in December 1993. Following the servicing mission Hubble re-photographed the galaxy again, and it snapped into crystal clear focus. The public celebrated with Hubble's triumphant return to the clear vision that had been promised. And, jaw-dropping pictures of the vast universe that followed have not disappointed space enthusiasts. Because of the astronaut servicing missions, Hubble's capabilities have only gotten better. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first servicing mission, this 2-panel photo compares the blurry, pre-servicing 1993 image (left) to a 2009 image (right) taken with Hubble's newer, Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, installed during the last astronaut servicing mission to the space telescope.

The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, in Washington, D.C.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and Judy Schmidt

For images and more information about galaxy M100 and Hubble, visit:

Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Maryland
[email protected]