18 years ago today, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched on the space shuttle Discovery. It's hard to believe the telescope is now old enough to vote (I don't know who the Hubble would support in the presidential election; probably either McCain, Clinton, or Obama). Hubble was originally designed for a 15 year mission, so it has exceeded our hopes and desires. And, with a refurbishing mission on the way later this year, HST should be good for at least another 5-10 years.
In honor of Hubble's birthday, NASA has released a collection of pictures of 59 colliding galaxies. There's lots of neat things in those pictures -- dust and debris being flung every which way from the collision, bursts of star formation, giant black holes flaring to life, and more.
Thanks to all at NASA for their hard work with Hubble, and thank you to all you taxpayers for you money that keeps the telescope running!