On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Telescope hitched a ride aboard the space shuttle Discovery and began its ascent into low-earth orbit, where it has remained ever since, exploring the great unknown and projecting images that have helped scientists and the public at large make better sense of our place in the universe.

Expanding Universe. Photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope, a book published by TASCHEN, offers a collection of amazing images from the 'scope, which has explored everything from black holes to exoplanets. Here are 15 of its most magnificent pictures.

1. A space shuttle with a view

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)

HST The Hubble Space Telescope. Classification: Cassegrain Telescope; Position: Earth’s Orbit; Distance from earth: 350 mi; Instrument/year: Photo by Space Shuttle Crew, 1999.

2. Totally Nebula

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and H. Bond (STScI/PSU)

RS Puppis. Classification: Variable Star, Nebula; Position: 08h 13m, –34° 34' (Puppis); Distance from earth: 6,500 ly; Instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2010.

3. Galaxy Quest

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA), J. Gallagher (U. Wisconsin), M. Mountain (STScI), and P. Puxley (NSF)

M82 Cigar Galaxy. Classification: Galaxy; Position: 09h 55m, +69° 40' (Ursa Major); Distance from earth: 12,000,000 ly; Instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2006.

4. Planet, Aligned

NASA, ESA, and E. Karkoschka (U. Arizona)

Jupiter & Ganymede. Classification: Planet & Moon; Position: Variable; Distance from earth: 443,000,000 mi; Instrument/year: WFPC2, 2007.

5. Dark Nebula Rising

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STSci/AURA)

Barnard 33 Horsehead Nebula. Classification: Dark Nebula; Position: 05h 40m, –02° 27' (Orion); Distance from earth: 1,600 ly; Instrument/year: WFC3/IR, 2012.

6. Cones in Space

NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M. CLampin and G. Hartiq (STScI), the ACS Science Team

NGC 2264 Cone Nebula. Classification: Star-forming Nebula; Position: 06h 41m, +09° 25' (Monoceros); Distance from earth: 2,500 ly; Instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2002.

7. Star Formation

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)

M16 Eagle Nebula. Classification: Star-forming Nebula; Position: 18h 18m, –13° 49' (Serpens); Distance from earth: 6,500 ly; Instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2004.

8. Bugging Out

NASA, ESA, and Hubble SM4 ERO Team

NGC 6302 Bug Nebula. Classification: Planetary Nebula; Position: 17h 13m, –37° 06' (Scorpius); Distance from earth: 3,800 ly; Instrument/year: WFC3/UVIS, 2009.

9. A Super Supernova

NASA, ESA, and J. Hester (ASU)

M1 Crab Nebula; Classification: Supernova Remnant; Position: 05h 34m, +22° 00' (Taurus); Distance from earth: 6,500 ly; Instrument/year: WFPC2, 1999, 2000.

10. Eagle in the Sky

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)

M16 Eagle Nebula. Classification: Star-forming Nebula; Position: 18h 18m, –13° 49' (Serpens); Distance from earth: 6,500 ly; Instrument/year: WFC3/IR, 2014.

11. Eagle Revisited

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)

M16 Eagle Nebula. Classification: Star-forming Nebula; Position: 18h 18m, –13° 49' (Serpens); Distance from earth: 6,500 ly; Instrument/year: WFC3/UVIS, 2014.

12. Spiraling Out

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA), W. Blair (STScI/ JHU) and R. O'Connell (UVA)

M83 Southern Pinwheel Galaxy. Classification: Barred Spiral Galaxy; Position: 13h 37m, –29° 51' (Hydra); Distance from earth: 15,000,000 ly; Instrument/year: WFC3/UVIS, 2009–2012.

13. Spiraling Out Even Farther

NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage (STSci/AURA), B. Holwerda (STScI) and J. Dalcanton (U. of Washington)

2MASX J00482185-2507365. Classification: Spiral Galaxy; Position: 00h 48m, –25° 08' (Sculptor); Distance from earth: 780,000,000 ly; Instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2006.

14. Quick Fix

NASA, ESA

Hubble Repairmen, STS-103, December 27, 1999. From their perch 350 miles above Earth’s surface, astronauts Steven Smith and John Grunsfeld replace the gyroscopes in rate sensor units inside Hubble.

15. Major Ursa Major

NASA, ESA, and Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA) Acknowledgment: M.H. Wong (STScI/UC Berkeley) and C. Go (Philippines)

M81, NGC 3031. Classification: Spiral Galaxy; Position: 09h 55m, +69° 03' (Ursa Major); Distance from earth: 11,600,000 ly; Instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2004-2006.

A version of this story ran in 2015; it has been updated for 2021.