Space Hubble Telescope News

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Science Release: Hubble Discovers Mysterious Black Hole Disc


Artist’s impression of NGC3147 black hole disc
Astronomers using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope have observed an unexpected thin disc of material encircling a supermassive black hole at the heart of the spiral galaxy NGC 3147, located 130 million light-years away.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Captures the Galaxy's Biggest Ongoing Stellar Fireworks Show



In the mid-1800s, mariners sailing the southern seas navigated at night by a brilliant star in the constellation Carina. The star, named Eta Carinae, was the second brightest star in the sky for more than a decade. Those mariners could hardly have imagined that by the mid-1860s the brilliant orb would no longer be visible. Eta Carinae was enveloped by a cloud of dust ejected during a violent outburst.

Stars don't normally play vanishing acts unless they are undergoing rapid and violent activity. Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories have helped astronomers piece together the story of this unique star's petulant behavior. During part of its adult life, Eta Carinae has undergone a series of eruptions, becoming extremely bright during each episode, before fading away. One explanation for the monster star's antics is that the convulsions were caused by a complex interplay of as many as three stars, all gravitationally bound in one system. The most massive member – weighing in at 150 times our Sun's mass – swallowed one of the stars. This violent event ignited the massive outburst of the mid-1800s. Evidence for that event, dubbed the Great Eruption, lies in the huge, expanding bipolar lobes of hot gas surrounding the system.

Because of Eta Carinae's violent history, astronomers have kept watch over its activities. Although Hubble has monitored the volatile superstar for 25 years, it still is uncovering new revelations. Using Hubble to map the ultraviolet-light glow of magnesium embedded in warm gas, astronomers were surprised to discover the gas in places they had not seen it before. The newly revealed gas is important for understanding how the eruption began, because it represents the fast and energetic ejection of material that may have been expelled by the star shortly before the expulsion of the bipolar bubbles.

One of the most massive known stars in the Milky Way galaxy, Eta Carinae is destined to finally meet its end by exploding as a supernova.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Uncovers Black Hole Disk that Shouldn't Exist



Astronomers are always tickled when they find something they didn't expect to be there. Peering deep into the heart of the majestic spiral galaxy NGC 3147, researchers uncovered a swirling gas disk precariously close to a black hole weighing about 250 million times the mass of our Sun. The surprise is that they thought the black hole was so malnourished, it shouldn’t have such a structure around it. It's basically a "Mini-Me" version of more powerful disks seen in very active galaxies.

What's especially intriguing is that the disk is so deeply embedded in the black hole's intense gravitational field, its light is being stretched and intensified by the black hole's powerful grasp. It's a unique, real-world demonstration of Einstein's laws of relativity, formulated a century ago.

Hubble clocked material whirling around the black hole as moving at more than 10% of the speed of light. And, the gas astronomers measured is so entrenched in the gravitational well that light is struggling to climb out, and therefore appears stretched to redder wavelengths.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Astronomers Assemble Wide View of the Evolving Universe



How far is far? And, how do you know when you get there? In 1995, astronomers decided to use the Hubble Space Telescope to conduct a bold and daring experiment to address this puzzle. For 10 consecutive days, Hubble stared at one tiny, seemingly empty patch of sky for 1 million seconds.

The gamble of precious telescope time paid off. Hubble captured the feeble glow of myriad never-before-seen galaxies. Many of the galaxies are so far away it has taken billions of years for their light to reach us. Therefore, the view is like looking down a "time corridor," where galaxies can be seen as they looked billions of years ago. Hubble became astronomy's ultimate time machine.

The resulting landmark image is called the Hubble Deep Field. At the time, the image won the gold medal for being the farthest peek into the universe ever made. Its stunning success encouraged astronomers to pursue a series of Hubble deep-field surveys. The succeeding surveys uncovered more galaxies at greater distance from Earth, thanks to new cameras installed on Hubble during astronaut servicing missions. The cameras increased the telescope's power to look even deeper into the universe.

These surveys provided astronomers with a huge scrapbook of images, showing how, following the big bang, galaxies built themselves up over time to become the large, majestic assemblages seen today in the nearby universe.

Among the most notable deep-field surveys are the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), in 2003; the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), in 2004; and the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), in 2012.

Now, astronomers are releasing a new deep-field image by weaving together exposures from several of these previous galaxy "fishing expeditions." Their efforts have produced the largest, most comprehensive “history book” of galaxies in the universe. The snapshot, a combination of nearly 7,500 separate Hubble exposures, represents 16 years' worth of observations. The ambitious endeavor is called the Hubble Legacy Field. The new view contains about 30 times as many galaxies as in the HUDF. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing all the features of galaxy assembly over time.

The image mosaic presents a wide portrait of the distant universe and contains roughly 265,000 galaxies. They stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the universe's birth in the big bang.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
New Hubble Constant Measurement Adds to Mystery of Universe's Expansion Rate



In 1924, American astronomer Edwin Hubble announced that he discovered galaxies outside of our Milky Way by using the powerful new Hooker telescope perched above Los Angeles. By measuring the distances to these galaxies, he realized the farther away a galaxy is, the faster it appears to be receding from us. This was incontrovertible evidence the universe is uniformly expanding in all directions. This was a big surprise, even to Albert Einstein, who predicted a well-balanced, static universe. The expansion rate is the basis of the Hubble constant. It is a sought-after value because it yields clues to the origin, age, evolution, and future fate of our universe.

For nearly the past century astronomers have worked meticulously to precisely measure the Hubble constant. Before the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, the universe's age was thought to lie between 10 and 20 billion years, based on different estimates of the Hubble constant. Improving this value was one of the biggest justifications for building the Hubble telescope. This paid off in the early 1990s when a team led by Wendy Freedman of the University of Chicago greatly refined the Hubble constant value to a precision of 10%. This was possible because the Hubble telescope is so sharp at finding and measuring Cepheid variable stars as milepost markers — just as Edwin Hubble did 70 years earlier.

But astronomers strive for ever greater precision, and this requires further refining yardsticks for measuring vast intergalactic distances of billions of light-years. Freedman's latest research looks at aging red giant stars in nearby galaxies. They are also milepost markers because they all reach the same peak brightness at a critical stage of their late evolution. This can be used to calculate distances.

Freedman's research is one of several recent studies that point to a nagging discrepancy between the universe's modern expansion rate and predictions based on the universe as it was more than 13 billion years ago, as measured by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. This latest measurement offers new evidence suggesting that there may be something fundamentally flawed in the current model of the universe.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy First Fragment Impact With Jupiter



This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter's cloudtops was taken at 5:32 EDT on July 16, 1994, shortly after the impact of the first fragment (A) of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. A violet (410 nanometer) filter of the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 was used to make the image 1.5 hours after the impact.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Astronomers View Comet Impact with Jupiter



Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute huddle around monitors to get a glimpse of images from fragment A of comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9's collision with Jupiter in July 1994.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Sees Comet Fireball on Limb of Jupiter



Sequence of images showing evidence for a plume near the terminator of Jupiter at the time of comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9's fragment A impact with Jupiter in July 1994.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Jupiter's Comet Collision Sites As Seen in Visible and Ultraviolet Light



This comparison of visible light (blue) and far-ultraviolet (FUV) images of Jupiter taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2 (WFPC-2) on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope show how the appearance of the planet and of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact sites differ at these two wavelengths (1400-2100 and 3100-3600 Angstroms). The images taken 20 minutes apart on July 17,1994 (around 19:00 UT), show the impact sites on the southern hemisphere, from left to right, of comet fragments C, A, and E, about 12, 23, and 4 hours after each collision. Jupiter's satellite 10 is seen crossing above the center of the disk, and the famous Great Red Spot is near the eastern limb.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Image of Large Comet Impact on Jupiter



These images of Jupiter, by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveal the impact sites of fragments "D" and "G" from Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. The upper right corners of each image points north, showing the impact sites located in Jupiter's southern hemisphere at a latitude of 44 degrees.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Color Hubble Image of Large Comet Impact on Jupiter



This Hubble telescope image of the giant planet Jupiter reveals the impact sites of two fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. Twenty-one large chunks of the comet rained down upon Jupiter in July 1994.

The impact sites, located in the planet's Southern Hemisphere, are the dark spots in the upper left of the photograph.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Color Hubble Image of Multiple Comet Impacts on Jupiter



Image of Jupiter with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Planetary Camera. Eight impact sights are visible. From left to right are the E/F complex (barely visible on the edge of the planet), the star shaped H site, the impact sites for tiny N, Q1, small Q2, and R, and on the far right limb the D/G complex. The D/G complex also shows extended haze at the edge of the planet. The features are rapidly evolving on timescales of days. The smallest features in the this image are less than 200 kilometers across. This image is a color composite of three filters at 9530, 5500, and 4100 Angstroms.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Ultraviolet Image of Multiple Comet Impacts on Jupiter



Ultraviolet image of Jupiter taken by the Wide Field Camera of the Hubble Space Telescope. The image shows Jupiter's atmosphere at a wavelength of 2550 Angstroms after many impacts by fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
"Bruised" Jupiter as Seen on Last Day of Comet Impacts



A natural color NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the full disk of the giant planet Jupiter shows numerous comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 impact sites as seen on July 22, 1994.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy First Fragment Impact With Jupiter



This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of Jupiter's cloudtops was taken at 5:32 EDT on July 16, 1994, shortly after the impact of the first fragment (A) of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. A violet (410 nanometer) filter of the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 was used to make the image 1.5 hours after the impact.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Image of Large Comet Impact on Jupiter



These images of Jupiter, by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, reveal the impact sites of fragments "D" and "G" from Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. The upper right corners of each image points north, showing the impact sites located in Jupiter's southern hemisphere at a latitude of 44 degrees.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Captures the Galaxy's Biggest Ongoing Stellar Fireworks Show



In the mid-1800s, mariners sailing the southern seas navigated at night by a brilliant star in the constellation Carina. The star, named Eta Carinae, was the second brightest star in the sky for more than a decade. Those mariners could hardly have imagined that by the mid-1860s the brilliant orb would no longer be visible. Eta Carinae was enveloped by a cloud of dust ejected during a violent outburst.

Stars don't normally play vanishing acts unless they are undergoing rapid and violent activity. Observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories have helped astronomers piece together the story of this unique star's petulant behavior. During part of its adult life, Eta Carinae has undergone a series of eruptions, becoming extremely bright during each episode, before fading away. One explanation for the monster star's antics is that the convulsions were caused by a complex interplay of as many as three stars, all gravitationally bound in one system. The most massive member – weighing in at 150 times our Sun's mass – swallowed one of the stars. This violent event ignited the massive outburst of the mid-1800s. Evidence for that event, dubbed the Great Eruption, lies in the huge, expanding bipolar lobes of hot gas surrounding the system.

Because of Eta Carinae's violent history, astronomers have kept watch over its activities. Although Hubble has monitored the volatile superstar for 25 years, it still is uncovering new revelations. Using Hubble to map the ultraviolet-light glow of magnesium embedded in warm gas, astronomers were surprised to discover the gas in places they had not seen it before. The newly revealed gas is important for understanding how the eruption began, because it represents the fast and energetic ejection of material that may have been expelled by the star shortly before the expulsion of the bipolar bubbles.

One of the most massive known stars in the Milky Way galaxy, Eta Carinae is destined to finally meet its end by exploding as a supernova.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Atmosphere of Mid-Size Planet Revealed by Hubble and Spitzer



Our solar system contains two major classes of planets. Earth is a rocky terrestrial planet, as are Mercury, Venus, and Mars. At about the distance of the asteroid belt, there is a "frost line" where space is so cold more volatile material, like water, can remain frozen. Out here live the gas giants–Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune–which have bulked up on hydrogen and helium and other volatiles.

Astronomers are curious about a new class of planet not found in the Solar System. Weighing in at 12.6 Earth masses the planet is more massive than Earth, but less massive than Neptune (hence, intermediate between the rocky and gaseous planets in the Solar System). What's more, the planet, GJ 3470 b, is so close to its red dwarf star that it completes one orbit in just three days! As odd as it seems, planets in this mass range are likely the most abundant throughout the galaxy, based on surveys by NASA's Kepler space telescope. But they are not found in our own solar system.

Astronomers enlisted the combined multi-wavelength capabilities of NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to assemble for the first time a "fingerprint" of the chemical composition of GJ 3470 b's atmosphere, which turns out to be mostly hydrogen and helium, and surprisingly, largely lacking heavier elements. One possible explanation is that the planet formed as a 10-Earth-mass rocky core that then accumulated hydrogen very close to its star, rather than migrated in which is the conventional wisdom for star-hugging planets.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
Hubble Uncovers Black Hole Disk that Shouldn't Exist



Astronomers are always tickled when they find something they didn't expect to be there. Peering deep into the heart of the majestic spiral galaxy NGC 3147, researchers uncovered a swirling gas disk precariously close to a black hole weighing about 250 million times the mass of our Sun. The surprise is that they thought the black hole was so malnourished, it shouldn’t have such a structure around it. It's basically a "Mini-Me" version of more powerful disks seen in very active galaxies.

What's especially intriguing is that the disk is so deeply embedded in the black hole's intense gravitational field, its light is being stretched and intensified by the black hole's powerful grasp. It's a unique, real-world demonstration of Einstein's laws of relativity, formulated a century ago.

Hubble clocked material whirling around the black hole as moving at more than 10% of the speed of light. And, the gas astronomers measured is so entrenched in the gravitational well that light is struggling to climb out, and therefore appears stretched to redder wavelengths.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

The News Robot
Joined
Jul 28, 2004
Location
Terra
New Hubble Constant Measurement Adds to Mystery of Universe's Expansion Rate



In 1924, American astronomer Edwin Hubble announced that he discovered galaxies outside of our Milky Way by using the powerful new Hooker telescope perched above Los Angeles. By measuring the distances to these galaxies, he realized the farther away a galaxy is, the faster it appears to be receding from us. This was incontrovertible evidence the universe is uniformly expanding in all directions. This was a big surprise, even to Albert Einstein, who predicted a well-balanced, static universe. The expansion rate is the basis of the Hubble constant. It is a sought-after value because it yields clues to the origin, age, evolution, and future fate of our universe.

For nearly the past century astronomers have worked meticulously to precisely measure the Hubble constant. Before the Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, the universe's age was thought to lie between 10 and 20 billion years, based on different estimates of the Hubble constant. Improving this value was one of the biggest justifications for building the Hubble telescope. This paid off in the early 1990s when a team led by Wendy Freedman of the University of Chicago greatly refined the Hubble constant value to a precision of 10%. This was possible because the Hubble telescope is so sharp at finding and measuring Cepheid variable stars as milepost markers — just as Edwin Hubble did 70 years earlier.

But astronomers strive for ever greater precision, and this requires further refining yardsticks for measuring vast intergalactic distances of billions of light-years. Freedman's latest research looks at aging red giant stars in nearby galaxies. They are also milepost markers because they all reach the same peak brightness at a critical stage of their late evolution. This can be used to calculate distances.

Freedman's research is one of several recent studies that point to a nagging discrepancy between the universe's modern expansion rate and predictions based on the universe as it was more than 13 billion years ago, as measured by the European Space Agency's Planck satellite. This latest measurement offers new evidence suggesting that there may be something fundamentally flawed in the current model of the universe.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 
Top Bottom