Speaking of Hubble...

Archive: February 2010

Wonders of the World

February 19, 2010 by Mario Livio

Astronauts repairing Hubble drift above Australia in this image from the second servicing mission, featured in "Wonders of the World."

Almost every weekend I try to go to a few bookstores, to see if there is anything new that I might find interesting. (My wife is not that happy with this habit, since I often end up buying a few books.)

Last weekend, a book in the photography section caught my eye.

It was entitled: “Wonders of the World: 50 Must-See Natural and Man-Made Marvels,” and it was published by Life books.

The book started with a collection of photographs related to the famous seven wonders of the ancient world. It continued with a modern set of Wonders of the World, chosen in 2007 by over 100 million votes. I flipped through a gorgeous section entitled “Wonders of Today,” until I reached pages 76-77, and there it was: The Hubble Telescope! The description included one photograph of the 1997 servicing mission, and four Hubble astronomical images.

Unlike the wonders of the ancient world, no one except the astronauts on servicing missions can actually visit the Hubble Telescope. But the short accompanying article noted that Hubble “has been sending back data that has thrilled scientists and pictures that have fascinated all of us.”

Just as I was contemplating what an honor this was, to be working on a project included in the exclusive list of the 50 Wonders of the World, I discovered that the two “endpapers”  — the pages just inside the front and back covers — were images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

All that was left to say was: Wow!