Space Hubble Telescope News

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Hubble Finds Evidence of Stellar Close Encounters: Bright Blue Stars and Naked Cores

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has discovered a new population of stars isolated deep in the core of M15, one of the densest globular star clusters. The stars are among the hottest stars observed in the core of a globular cluster. The most likely explanation for their existence is that they are the "naked cores" of stars that have been stripped of their outer envelope of gas, according to astronomers.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

Robby

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Robby

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Robby

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NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Peers Far Back in Time to Uncover the Secrets of Galaxy Evolution

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Looking far away and far back in time, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has found some suspected ancestors of today's galaxies. The Hubble pictures reveal that star-forming galaxies were far more prevalent in the clusters of the younger universe than in modern clusters of galaxies near us today.

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Comparison of a WFPC2 Thermal Vacuum Globular Cluster-Mask Image to Wfpc1

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After NASA Hubble Space Telescope's refurbishment to correct spherical aberration, its resolution for imaging stars is expected to increase by a factor of 10-15 over ground-based, and a factor of 2-3 over the pre-reburbished Hubble. The expected improvement in resolution is demonstrated by comparing a Hubble WFPC2 Thermal Vacuum globular cluster-mask (right panel) to a simulated view of the same globular cluster as viewed with Hubble's WFPC1 (left panel).

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HST Snaps Optical Jet of Quasar 3c 273

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The Green (V band) image (left) shows the field around the quasar 3c 273 (courtesy Matthew Colless, David Schade and the CFHT). The optical jet can be seen southwest of the quasar. The blue (B band) image (right) shows the optical jet as seen by the Faint Object Camera (FOC) on board the Hubble Space Telescope. For comparison, the 11X11 arcsec FOC field of view is marked on the ground based CFHT image. The insert (right) is a Maximum Entropy reconstruction of the FOC image. This FOC image is derived from three linearly polarized images which show that the brightest knots are highly polarized (20%-50%). A letter which describes these data appears in the 9 September 1993 issue of Nature.

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Hubble Space Telescope view of a Comet on a Collision Course with Jupiter

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These images of Comet P/Shoemaker- Levy 9 (1993e) fragments were made by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The cometary chunks are expected to plunge into Jupiter's atmosphere in July 1994. The comet was torn into numerous pieces by the massive planet's gravitational pull as it passed by Jupiter in summer 1992.

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Hubble Confirms Existence of Massive Black Hole at Heart of Active Galaxy

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Astronomers using the Hubble telescope have found seemingly conclusive evidence for a massive black hole in the center of the giant elliptical galaxy M87, located 50 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. Earlier observations suggested that the black hole was present, but they were not decisive.

This observation provides very strong support for the existence of gravitationally collapsed objects, which were predicted 80 years ago by Albert Einstein's general theory of relativity. This image shows a spiral-shaped disk of hot gas in the core of M87. Hubble measurements indicate that the disk's rapid rotation is strong evidence that it contains a massive black hole. A black hole is so massive and compact that nothing can escape its gravitational pull, not even light.

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Panoramic Hubble Picture Surveys Star Birth, Proto-Planetary Systems in the Great Orion Nebula

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This spectacular color panorama of the center of the Orion Nebula is one of the largest pictures ever assembled from individual images taken with the Hubble telescope.

The seemingly infinite tapestry of rich detail revealed by Hubble shows a churning, turbulent star factory set within a maelstrom of flowing, luminescent gas. Though this 2.5-light-year-wide view is a small portion of the entire nebula, it includes a star cluster and almost all of the light from the bright glowing clouds of gas that make up the nebula.

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Swirling Galaxy Parents Generations of Stars in Its Center

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The Hubble telescope has snapped a view of several generations of stars in the central region of the Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), located 23 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs).

The spiral galaxy's massive center, the bright ball of light in the center of the photograph, is about 80 light-years across and has a brightness of about 100 million suns. Astronomers estimate that it is about 400 million years old and has a mass 40 million times larger than our Sun. The concentration of stars is about 5,000 times higher than in our solar neighborhood, the Milky Way Galaxy.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Fireworks Near a Black Hole in the Core of Seyfert Galaxy NGC 4151

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The Hubble telescope's imaging spectrograph simultaneously records, in unprecedented detail, the velocities of hundreds of gas knots streaming at hundreds of thousands of miles per hour from the nucleus of NGC 4151, thought to house a super-massive black hole. This is the first time the velocity structure in the heart of this object, or similar objects, has been mapped so vividly this close to its central black hole.

The heart of NGC 4151 was captured in visible light in the upper left picture. In the other images, Hubble's imaging spectrograph has zeroed in on the galaxy's active central region. The Hubble data clearly show that the some material in the galaxy's hub is rapidly moving towards us, while other matter rapidly receding from us. This information is strong evidence for the existence of a black hole, an extremely compact, dense object that feeds on material swirling around it.

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Blobs in Space: The Legacy of a Nova

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Nova eruptions by dying stars were thought to be simple, predictable acts of violence. Astronomers could point a telescope at the most recently exploded novae and see an expanding bubble of gaseous debris around each star.

Scientists using the Hubble telescope, however, were surprised to find that some nova outbursts may not produce smooth shells of gas, but thousands of gaseous blobs, each the size of our solar system. In this Hubble picture of the nova T Pyxidis, the shells of gas ejected by the star are actually more than 2,000 gaseous blobs packed into an area that is 1 light-year across.

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Vast Stellar Disks Set Stage for Planet Birth in New Hubble Images

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Dramatic pictures of eerie disks of dust encircling young stars are giving astronomers a new look at what may be the early formative stages of planetary systems.

Although these pictures from the Hubble telescope don't show planets, the edge-on disks seen by the telescope provide some of the clearest views to date of potential planetary construction zones, say researchers. The images also offer a peek at what happened 4.5 billion years ago when the Earth and other planets in our solar system began to condense out of a pancake-shaped disk of dust and gas centered on the young Sun. These images were taken by Hubble's infrared camera. All of the objects in these pictures are extremely young stars, buried in the centers of these pictures. The wisps of material surrounding the young stars are glowing from reflected starlight.

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Hubble Picture Adds to Planet-Making Recipe

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The Hubble telescope has snapped a nearly face-on view of a swirling disk of dust and gas surrounding a developing star called AB Aurigae. The image, taken in visible light by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, shows unprecedented detail in the disk, including clumps of dust and gas that may be the seeds of planet formation.

Normally, a young star's bright light prevents astronomers from seeing material closer to it. That's why astronomers used a coronograph in these two images of AB Aurigae to block most of the star's glare. The rest of the disk material is illuminated by light reflected from the gas and dust surrounding the star. The image on the left represents the best ground-based coronographic observation of AB Aurigae. The star resides in a region of dust clouds ? the semicircular-shaped material to the left of the star. The Hubble telescope image on the right shows a windowpane-shaped occulting bar. The illuminated material surrounding the star is the dust disk.

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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.

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Hubble Spies Huge Clusters of Stars Formed by Ancient Encounter

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Studying galactic interactions is like sifting through the forensic evidence at a crime scene. Astronomers wade through the debris of a violent encounter, collecting clues so that they can reconstruct the celestial crime to determine when it happened. Take the case of M82, a small, nearby galaxy that long ago bumped into its larger neighbor, M81. When did this violent encounter occur? New infrared and visible-light pictures from the Hubble telescope reveal for the first time important details of large clusters of stars, which arose from the interaction.

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Hubble's Infrared Camera is Back in Business – New Images Released

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After more than three years of inactivity, the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) has reopened its "near-infrared eyes" on the universe, snapping several breathtaking views, from the craggy interior of a star-forming cloud to a revealing look at the heart of an edge-on galaxy. Peering into our stellar backyard, NICMOS peeled back the outer layers of the Cone Nebula [above, left] to see the underlying dusty "bedrock" in this stellar "pillar of creation." The camera's penetrating vision also sliced through the edge-on dusty disk of a galaxy, NGC 4013 [above, center], like our Milky Way to peer all the way into the galaxy's core. Astronomers were surprised to see what appears to be an edge-on ring of stars, 720 light-years across, encircling the nucleus. Though such star-rings are not uncommon in barred spiral galaxies, only NICMOS has the resolution to see the ring buried deep inside an edge-on galaxy. The camera then peered far across the universe to witness a galactic car wreck between four galaxies, which is creating a torrent of new stars. The colliding system of galaxies, called IRAS 19297-0406 [above, right], glows fiercely in infrared light because the flocks of new stars are generating a large amount of dust.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 

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Science Release: Astronomers Use Slime Mould to Map the Universe’s Largest Structures

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heic2003a.jpg The behaviour of one of nature’s humblest creatures and archival data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope are helping astronomers probe the largest structures in the Universe.

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Hubble Opens Doorway to Systematic Search for Black Holes

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Hubble Space Telescope's ongoing black hole hunt has bagged yet another supermassive black hole in the universe. The compact object - equal to the mass of two billion suns - lies at the heart of the edge-on galaxy NGC 3115, located 30 million light-years away in the constellation Sextans.

This result promises to open the way to systematic demographic studies of very massive black holes that might once have powered quasars - objects that are incredibly small, yet release a gusher of light and other radiation.

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Slime Mold Simulations Used to Map the Dark Matter Holding the Universe Together

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A simple single-cell organism that may be growing on your lawn is helping astronomers probe the largest structures in the universe.

These organisms, called slime mold, feed on dead plant material, and they have an uncanny ability to seek out food sources. Although brainless, the organism's "genius" at creating efficient networks to reach their food goal has caught the attention of scientists. Researchers have recreated the slime mold's behavior in computer algorithms to help solve large-scale engineering problems such as finding the most efficient traffic routes in large cities, solving mazes, and pinpointing crowd evacuation routes.

A team of astronomers has now turned to slime mold to help them trace the universe's large-scale network of filaments. Built by gravity, these vast cobweb structures, called the cosmic web, tie galaxies and clusters of galaxies together along faint bridges of gas and dark matter hundreds of millions of light-years long.

To trace the filaments, the research team designed a computer algorithm informed by slime-mold behavior. The team seeded the algorithm with the charted positions of 37,000 galaxies and ran it to generate a filamentary map. The astronomers then used archival observations from the Hubble Space Telescope to detect and study the faint gas permeating the web at the predicted locations.

(More at HubbleSite.com)
 
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