Space Hubble Telescope News

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Amateur and Professional Astronomers Team Up to Create a Cosmological Masterpiece



Working with astronomical image processors at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., renowned astrophotographer Robert Gendler has taken science data from the Hubble Space Telescope archive and combined it with his own ground-based observations to assemble a photo illustration of the magnificent spiral galaxy M106.

Gendler retrieved archival Hubble images of M106 to assemble a mosaic of the center of the galaxy. He then used his own and fellow astrophotographer Jay GaBany's observations of M106 to combine with the Hubble data in areas where there was less coverage, and finally, to fill in the holes and gaps where no Hubble data existed.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Hubble Sees a Horsehead of a Different Color



Unlike other celestial objects there is no question how the Horsehead Nebula got its name. This iconic silhouette of a horse's head and neck pokes up mysteriously from what look like whitecaps of interstellar foam. The nebula has graced astronomy books ever since its discovery over a century ago. But Hubble's infrared vision shows the horse in a new light. The nebula, shadowy in optical light, appears transparent and ethereal when seen at infrared wavelengths. This pillar of tenuous hydrogen gas laced with dust is resisting being eroded away by the radiation from a nearby star. The nebula is a small part of a vast star-forming complex in the constellation Orion. The Horsehead will disintegrate in about 5 million years.

As part of Hubble's 23rd anniversary Horsehead Nebula release, amateur astronomers around the world were invited to send in their Horsehead Nebula photos. Visit the Hubble Heritage Horsehead Image Release to view the contributions via Flickr and Tumblr and to send us your own image.

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Reveals the Ring Nebula's True Shape



The distinctive shape of the Ring Nebula, the glowing shroud around a dying Sun-like star, makes it a popular celestial object that appears in many astronomy books. New observations of the Ring Nebula by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, however, reveal a new twist on an iconic nebula.

The Hubble images offer the best view yet of the nebula, revealing a complex structure. The observations have allowed astronomers to construct the most precise three-dimensional model of the glowing gas shroud, called a planetary nebula. Based on the new observations, the Hubble research team suggests that the ring wraps around a blue football-shaped structure that protrudes out of opposite sides of the ring. The nebula is tilted toward Earth so that astronomers see the ring face-on.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Colliding Galaxy Pair Takes Flight



What looks like a celestial hummingbird is really the result of a collision between a spiral and an elliptical galaxy at a whopping 326 million light- years away. The flat disk of the spiral NGC 2936 is warped into the profile of a bird by the gravitational tug of the companion NGC 2937. The object was first cataloged as a "peculiar galaxy" by Halton Arp in the 1960s. This interacting galaxy duo is collectively called Arp 142.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Hubble Watches Super Star Create Holiday Light Show



This festive NASA Hubble Space Telescope image resembles a holiday wreath made of sparkling lights. The bright southern hemisphere star RS Puppis, at the center of the image, is swaddled in a gossamer cocoon of reflective dust illuminated by the glittering star. RS Puppis rhythmically brightens and dims over a six-week cycle. It is one of the most luminous in the class of so-called Cepheid variable stars. The nebula flickers in brightness as pulses of light from the Cepheid propagate outwards. Hubble took a series of photos of light flashes rippling across the nebula in a phenomenon known as a "light echo."

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Hubble's First Frontier Field Finds Thousands of Unseen, Faraway Galaxies



With the help of a natural "zoom lens" in space, Hubble astronomers are looking farther than anyone has before. The ambitious, collaborative, multiyear program among NASA's Great Observatories is called The Frontier Fields. The first of a set of unprecedented, super-deep views of the universe contain images of some of the intrinsically faintest and youngest galaxies ever detected. This is just the first of several primary target fields in the program. The immense gravity in this foreground galaxy cluster, Abell 2744, warps space to brighten and magnify images of far-more-distant background galaxies as they looked over 12 billion years ago, not long after the big bang. The Hubble exposure reveals nearly 3,000 of these background galaxies interleaved with images of hundreds of foreground galaxies in the cluster.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Electronic Book for Students with Visual Impairments Reaches for the Stars



This huge Hubble Space Telescope mosaic, spanning a width of 600 light-years, shows a star factory of more the 800,000 stars being born. The stars are embedded inside the Tarantula Nebula, a vibrant region of star birth that resides 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a small, satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. Hubble's near-infrared sensitivity allows astronomers to see behind clouds of dust in the nebula to unveil where the newborn stars are clustered.

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Hubble Views Stellar Genesis in the Southern Pinwheel



The vibrant magentas and blues in this Hubble image of the barred spiral galaxy M83 reveal that the galaxy is ablaze with star formation. The galactic panorama unveils a tapestry of the drama of stellar birth and death. The galaxy, also known as the Southern Pinwheel, lies 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra.

This image is being used to support a citizen science project titled STAR DATE: M83. The primary goal is to estimate ages for approximately 3,000 star clusters. Amateur scientists will use the presence or absence of the pink hydrogen emission, the sharpness of the individual stars, and the color of the clusters to estimate ages. Participants will measure the sizes of the star clusters and any associated emission nebulae. Finally, the citizen scientists will "explore" the image, identifying a variety of objects ranging from background galaxies to supernova remnants to foreground stars. STAR DATE: M83 is a joint collaborative effort between the Space Telescope Science Institute and Zooniverse, creators of several citizen science projects including Galaxy Zoo, Planet Hunters, and the Andromeda Project (go to www.zooniverse.org to see the full list). The M83 project is scheduled to launch on Monday, January 13, 2014. People interested in exploring this remarkable image in more detail, and in directly participating in a science project, can visit Index of /.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Hubble Celebrates Its 24th Anniversary with an Infrared Look at a Nearby Star Factory



This colorful Hubble Space Telescope mosaic of a small portion of the Monkey Head Nebula unveils a collection of carved knots of gas and dust silhouetted against glowing gas. The cloud is sculpted by ultraviolet light eating into the cool hydrogen gas. As the interstellar dust particles are warmed from the radiation from the stars in the center of the nebula, they heat up and begin to glow at infrared wavelengths, as captured by Hubble. The space photo superficially resembles the "The Great Wave" print by 19th century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai.

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Hubble Team Unveils Most Colorful View of Universe Captured by Space Telescope



Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have assembled a comprehensive picture of the evolving universe – among the most colorful deep space images ever captured by the 24-year-old telescope. This study, which includes ultraviolet light, provides the missing link in star formation.

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Hubble Goes High Def to Revisit the Iconic 'Pillars of Creation'



Although NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken many breathtaking images of the universe, one snapshot stands out from the rest: the iconic view of the so-called "Pillars of Creation." The jaw-dropping photo, taken in 1995, revealed never-before-seen details of three giant columns of cold gas bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula, or M16.

Though such butte-like features are common in star-forming regions, the M16 structures are by far the most photogenic and evocative. The Hubble image is so popular that it has appeared in movies and television shows, on tee-shirts and pillows, and even on a postage stamp. And now, in celebration of its 25th anniversary, Hubble has revisited the famous pillars, providing astronomers with a sharper and wider view, shown in the right-hand image. For comparison, the original 1995 Hubble image of the gaseous towers appears in the left-hand view. Streamers of gas can be seen bleeding off pillars as the intense radiation heats and evaporates it into space. Stars are being born deep inside the pillars.

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Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years of Unveiling the Universe



NASA and ESA are celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope's silver anniversary of 25 years in space by unveiling some of nature's own fireworks – a giant cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2. The cluster resides inside a vibrant stellar breeding ground known as Gum 29, located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina. The comparatively young, 2-million-year-old star cluster contains some of our galaxy's hottest, brightest, and most massive stars. The largest stars are unleashing a torrent of ultraviolet light and hurricane-force winds that etch away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud. This creates a fantasy celestial landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys.

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A Bow Shock Near a Young Star



The Hubble Space Telescope continues to reveal various stunning and intricate treasures that reside within the nearby, intense star-forming region known as the Great Nebula in Orion. One such jewel is the bow shock around the very young star, LL Ori, featured in this Hubble Heritage image.

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Rainbow Image of a Dusty Star



Resembling a rippling pool illuminated by underwater lights, the Egg Nebula offers astronomers a special look at the normally invisible dust shells swaddling an aging star. These dust layers, extending over one-tenth of a light-year from the star, have an onionskin structure that forms concentric rings around the star. A thicker dust belt, running almost vertically through the image, blocks off light from the central star. Twin beams of light radiate from the hidden star and illuminate the pitch-black dust, like a flashlight shining in a smoky room.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Mars: Closest Encounter



These two images, taken 11 hours apart with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveal two nearly opposite sides of Mars. Hubble snapped these photos as the red planet was making its closest approach to Earth in almost 60,000 years. Mars completed nearly one half a rotation between the two observations.

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Dying Star Sculpts Rungs of Gas and Dust



Astronomers may not have observed the fabled "Stairway to Heaven," but they have photographed something almost as intriguing: ladder-like structures surrounding a dying star. A new image, taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveals startling new details of one of the most unusual nebulae known in our Milky Way. Cataloged as HD 44179, this nebula is more commonly called the "Red Rectangle" because of its unique shape and color as seen with ground-based telescopes.

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Saturn Seen from Far and Near



As Saturn grows closer through the eyes of the Cassini spacecraft, which is hurtling toward a rendezvous with the ringed world on June 30 (July 1, Universal Time), both Cassini and the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope snapped spectacular pictures of the planet and its magnificent rings. Cassini is approaching Saturn at an oblique angle to the Sun and from below the ecliptic plane. Cassini has a very diferent view of Saturn than Hubble's Earth-centered view. For the first time, astronomers can compare views of equal-sharpness of Saturn from two very different perspectives.

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NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter



Dark matter and normal matter have been wrenched apart by the tremendous collision of two large clusters of galaxies. This composite image shows the galaxy cluster 1E 0657-56, also known as the "bullet cluster." The hot gas detected by Chandra in X-rays is seen as two pink clumps in the image and contains most of the "normal" matter in the two clusters. The bullet-shaped clump on the right is the hot gas from one cluster, which passed through the hot gas from the other larger cluster during the collision. An optical image from Magellan and the Hubble Space Telescope shows the galaxies in orange and white. The blue areas in this image show where astronomers find most of the mass in the clusters.

For more information about this research on the Web, visit: Chandra Press Room :: NASA Finds Direct Proof of Dark Matter :: August 21, 2006

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A Clash of Clusters Provides New Clue to Dark Matter



A powerful collision of galaxy clusters has been captured by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. The observations of the cluster known as MACS J0025.4-1222 indicate that a titanic collision has separated the dark from ordinary matter and provide an independent confirmation of a similar effect detected previously in a target dubbed the Bullet Cluster. These new results show that the Bullet Cluster is not an anomalous case.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 
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