• How Hubble Changed Space: Hubble scientists reflect on how the famed telescope's images impacted American culture and science.
• Images in Pop Culture: Hubble's free images offer a big bang for zero bucks.
• The Pillars of Creation: What makes this photo so memorable?
How important are the Hubble Space Telescope photos? Considering how often movies, television shows, rock bands, and others use them—very. The Hubble images have been showing up in pop culture since they were first published 21 years ago. Perhaps part of the appeal is that they are free for the public. They provide a lot of gorgeous bang for zero bucks. (We should note that Hubble-created data are also saved in a public database for astronomers to access for free. So while you're downloading your Crab Nebula wallpaper, scientists are downloading optical, ultraviolet, and near-infrared Hubble data.)
Below are some of the highest-impact examples of Hubble imagery in pop culture. Read more about the effect of Hubble on culture and science here.