Space Hubble Telescope News

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Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 to Resume Operations

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NASA has moved closer to conducting science operations again with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, which suspended operations on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Today, Jan. 15, the instrument was brought back to its operations mode. After resetting the telemetry circuits and associated boards, additional engineering data were collected and the instrument was brought back to operations. All values were normal. Additional calibration and tests will be run over the next 48 to 72 hours to ensure that the instrument is operating properly. Assuming that all tests work as planned, it is expected that the Wide Field Camera 3 will start to collect science images again by the end of the week.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Advanced Camera for Surveys Anomaly on Hubble Space Telescope

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At 8:31 p.m. EST on February 28, 2019, the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope suspended operations after an error was detected as the instrument was performing a routine boot procedure. The error indicated that software inside the camera had not loaded correctly. A team of instrument system engineers, flight software experts, and flight operations personnel quickly organized to download and analyze instrument diagnostic information. This team is currently working to identify the root cause and then to construct a recovery plan.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

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Robby

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Hubble Discovers Powerful Laser Beamed from Chaotic Star

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Darth Vader take heart. Astronomers have discovered a powerful ultraviolet laser beam, several times brighter than our Sun, shooting toward Earth from a super-hot "death star."

The observations, made with the Hubble telescope, have identified a gas cloud that acts as a natural ultraviolet laser near the huge, unstable star called Eta Carinae ? one of the most massive and energetic stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. The interstellar laser may result from Eta Carinae's violently chaotic eruptions, in which it blasts parts of itself out into space, like an interstellar geyser. This illustration depicts a gas cloud
, which acts as a natural ultraviolet laser near Eta Carinae
.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

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Robby

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Centaur's Bright Surface Spot Could be Crater of Fresh Ice

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The unexpectedly varied surface of a wayward piece of space debris has given astronomers new insights into the characteristics and behavior of a ghostly population of faintly observed comet-like bodies that lie just beyond Pluto's orbit. While observing an object called 8405 Asbolus, a 48-mile-wide (80-kilometer-wide) chunk of ice and dust that lies between Saturn and Uranus, astronomers using the Hubble telescope were surprised to find that one side of the object looks like it has a fresh crater less than 10 million years old, exposing underlying ice that is apparently unlike any yet seen. This shows that these mysterious objects, called Centaurs, do not have a simple homogenous surface. Hubble didn't directly see the crater - the object is too small and far away - but a measure of its surface composition with its near-infrared camera shows a complex chemistry.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Bigger, Better Catalog Unveils Half a Billion Celestial Objects

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It's a very big universe out there, and an astronomer's work is never done when it comes to simply counting and cataloging the sheer number of stars in the heavens. Completing a seven-year effort at digitizing the entire sky for a second time, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute and the Osservatorio Astronomico di Torino are releasing the Guide Star Catalog II. This new version, which replaces the historic 1989 catalog, provides important information on nearly one-half billion stars - over 20 times as many as the original Guide Star Catalog.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Hint of Planet-Sized Drifters Bewilders Hubble Scientists

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Piercing the heart of a globular star cluster, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope uncovered tantalizing clues to what could be a strange and unexpected population of wandering, planet-sized objects. The orbiting observatory detected these bodies in the globular cluster M22 by the way their gravity bends the light from background stars, a phenomenon called microlensing. These microlensing events were unusually brief, indicating that the mass of the the intervening objects could be as little as 80 times that of Earth. Bodies this small have never been detected by microlensing observations.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Hubble Discovers Black Holes in Unexpected Places

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Medium-size black holes actually do exist, according to the latest findings from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, but scientists had to look in some unexpected places to find them. The previously undiscovered black holes provide an important link that sheds light on the way in which black holes grow. Even more odd, these new black holes were found in the cores of glittering, "beehive" swarms of stars called globular star clusters, which orbit our Milky Way and other galaxies. The black hole in globular cluster M15
is 4,000 times more massive than our Sun. G1
, a much larger globular cluster, harbors a heftier black hole, about 20,000 times more massive than our Sun.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Cosmic Collisions Galore!

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Astronomy textbooks typically present galaxies as staid, solitary, and majestic island worlds of glittering stars. But galaxies have a dynamical side. They have close encounters that sometimes end in grand mergers and overflowing sites of new star birth as the colliding galaxies morph into wondrous new shapes. Today, in celebration of the Hubble Space Telescope's 18th launch anniversary, 59 views of colliding galaxies constitute the largest collection of Hubble images ever released to the public. This new Hubble atlas dramatically illustrates how galaxy collisions produce a remarkable variety of intricate structures in never-before-seen detail.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Fast-Flying Black Hole Yields Clues to Supernova Origin

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A nearby black hole is hurtling like a cannonball through the disk of our galaxy. The detection of this speed demon is the best evidence yet, some astronomers say, that stellar-mass black holes - those that are several times as massive as the Earth's Sun - are created when a dying, massive star explodes in a violent supernova. The stellar-mass black hole, called GRO J1655-40, is streaking across space at a rate of 250,000 miles per hour, which is four times faster than the average velocity of the stars in that galactic neighborhood. At that speed, the black hole may have been hurled through space by a supernova blast.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Megastar-Birth Cluster is Biggest, Brightest and Hottest Ever Seen

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A mysterious arc of light found behind a distant cluster of galaxies has turned out to be the biggest, brightest, and hottest star-forming region ever seen in space. The so-called Lynx arc is 1 million times brighter than the well-known Orion Nebula, a nearby prototypical star-birth region visible with small telescopes. The newly identified super-cluster contains a million blue-white stars that are twice as hot as similar stars in our Milky Way galaxy. It is a rarely seen example of the early days of the universe where furious firestorms of star birth blazed across the skies. The spectacular cluster's opulence is dimmed when seen from Earth only because it is 12 billion light-years away.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Hubble Peers Inside a Celestial Geode

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In this unusual image, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures a rare view of the celestial equivalent of a geode -- a gas cavity carved by the stellar wind and intense ultraviolet radiation from a hot young star. Real geodes are baseball-sized, hollow rocks that start out as bubbles in volcanic or sedimentary rock. Only when these inconspicuous round rocks are split in half by a geologist, do we get a chance to appreciate the inside of the rock cavity that is lined with crystals. In the case of Hubble's 35 light-year diameter "celestial geode" the transparency of its bubble-like cavity of interstellar gas and dust reveals the treasures of its interior.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Hubble's Largest Galaxy Portrait Offers a New High-Definition View

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Giant galaxies weren't assembled in a day. Neither was this Hubble Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101 (M101). It is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy that has ever been released from Hubble. The galaxy's portrait is actually composed of 51 individual exposures taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in March 1994, September 1994, June 1999, November 2002, and January 2003. The newly composed image also includes elements from images from ground-based photos.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Heavyweight Stars Light Up Nebula NGC 6357

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The small open star cluster Pismis 24 lies in the core of the large emission nebula NGC 6357 in Scorpius, about 8,000 light-years away from Earth. Some of the stars in this cluster are extremely massive and emit intense ultraviolet radiation. The brightest object in the picture is designated Pismis 24-1. It was once thought to weigh as much as 200 to 300 solar masses. This would not only have made it by far the most massive known star in the galaxy, but would have put it considerably above the currently believed upper mass limit of about 150 solar masses for individual stars. However, high-resolution Hubble Space Telescope images of the star show that it is really two stars orbiting one another (inset pictures at top right and bottom right). They are estimated to each be 100 solar masses. The Hubble Advanced Camera for Surveys images were taken in April 2006.

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Hubble Sees 'Comet Galaxy' Being Ripped Apart By Galaxy Cluster

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, in collaboration with several other ground- and space- based telescopes, has captured a galaxy being ripped apart by a galaxy cluster's gravitational field and harsh environment.

The finding sheds light on the mysterious process by which gas-rich spiral-shaped galaxies might evolve into gas-poor irregular- or elliptical-shaped galaxies over billions of years. The new observations also reveal one mechanism for forming the millions of "homeless" stars seen scattered throughout galaxy clusters.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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The Carina Nebula: Star Birth in the Extreme

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In celebration of the 17th anniversary of the launch and deployment of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers is releasing one of the largest panoramic images ever taken with Hubble's cameras. It is a 50-light-year-wide view of the central region of the Carina Nebula where a maelstrom of star birth – and death – is taking place. This image is a mosaic of the Carina Nebula assembled from 48 frames taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. The Hubble images were taken in the light of neutral hydrogen during March and July 2005. Color information was added with data taken in December 2001 and March 2003 at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Red corresponds to sulfur, green to hydrogen, and blue to oxygen emission.

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