In this image released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope shows a halo of hot gas surrounding spiral galaxy NGC 4631 that is similar to the Milky Way galaxy June 19, 2001 while in space. NASA plans to replace the Hubble telescope with the new James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and plans to deorbit the Hubble telescope sometime in 2010. According to Anne Kinney, division director of astronomy and physics at NASA headquarters, NASA states August 1, 2003 that it is firmly committed to the new JWST, a deep-space observatory due for launch in 2011 on a European Ariane 5 rocket. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

German astronomer Johannes Kepler, who had figured out a lot about planets and space in the early 1600s, once theorized that the universe had a birthday. That day was April 27, 4977 B.C., and while Kepler was right on a whole lot of things – like the motion of planets – he was pretty wrong about this one. It took until the 20th Century to determine that the universe was actually about 13.7 BILLION years older than that.

Nonetheless, we all love a good birthday party. So in honor of our 6,997th universe birthday (seriously, she doesn’t look a day over 27), we’re taking a look at some of the coolest, most breathtaking photos of the universe.

Happy Birthday Universe!

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