When the gods dance...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

Pictures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

21 September 2011 / All photos: © ANP / submit to reddit

The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed from the Space shuttle Discovery during STS-31 on April 25, 1990. Since then, there have been 5 servicing missions that continued to upgrade the telescope's scientific instruments and operational systems. Hubble reached a major milestone, its 20th anniversary in orbit, on April 24, 2010.
Hubble imagery has both delighted and amazed people around the world and has rewritten astronomy textbooks with its discoveries.

In this dated April 24, 1990 filed photo shows the Shuttle Discovery lifts off launch pad, carrying a crew of five and the Hubble Space Telescope

STS-125 crew member aboard the Space Shuttle Atlantis showing this image of the Hubble Space Telescope as the two spacecraft continued their relative separation on 19 May 2009

Hubble Space Telescope image shows in unprecedented detail the spiral arms and dust clouds of a nearby galaxy, which are the birth sites of massive and luminous stars. The Whirlpool galaxy, M51, has been one of the most photogenic galaxies in amateur and professional astronomy. Easily photographed and viewed by smaller telescopes, this celestial beauty is studied extensively in a range of wavelengths by large ground- and space-based observatories. This Hubble composite image shows visible starlight as well as light from the emission of glowing hydrogen, which is associated with the most luminous young stars in the spiral arms. M51, also known as NGC 5194, is having a close encounter with a nearby companion galaxy, NGC 5195, just off the upper edge of this image. The companion's gravitational pull is triggering star formation in the main galaxy, as seen in brilliant detail by numerous, luminous clusters of young and energetic stars. The bright clusters are highlighted in red by their associated emission from glowing hydrogen gas

Previously unseen details of a mysterious, complex structure within the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) are revealed by this image of the "Keyhole Nebula," obtained with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and released 03 February, 2000. The picture is a montage assembled from four different April 1999 telescope pointings with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, which used six different color filters. The picture is dominated by a large, approximately circular feature,which is part of the Keyhole Nebula, named in the 19th century by Sir John Herschel. This region, about 8000 light-years from Earth,is located adjacent to the famous explosive variable star Eta Carinae,which lies just outside the field of view toward the upper right. The Carina Nebula also contains several other stars that are among the hottest and most massive known, each about 10 times as hot, and 100 times as massive, as our sun.The Carina Nebula, with an overall diameter of more than 200 light-years, is one of the outstanding features of the Southern-Hemisphere portion of the Milky Way. The diameter of the Keyhole ring structure shown here is about 7 light-years

This image released by NASA shows colliding galaxies seen in the early stages of their interaction. The edge-on galaxy near the top of the image is VV 340 North and the face-on galaxy at the bottom of the image is VV 340 South. Millions of years later these two spirals will merge -- much like the Milky Way and Andromeda will likely do billions of years from now. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory (purple) are shown here along with optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (red, green, blue). VV 340 is located about 450 million light years from Earth

This NASA image released on February 17, 2011 shows what the Hubble Space Telescope revealed in this majestic disk of stars and dust lanes in this view of the spiral galaxy NGC 2841. A bright cusp of starlight marks the galaxy's center. Spiraling outward are dust lanes that are silhouetted against the population of whitish middle-aged stars. Much younger blue stars trace the spiral arms. Notably missing are pinkish emission nebulae indicative of new star birth. It is likely that the radiation and supersonic winds from fiery, super-hot, young blue stars cleared out the remaining gas (which glows pink), and hence shut down further star formation in the regions in which they were born. NGC 2841 currently has a relatively low star formation rate compared to other spirals that are ablaze with emission nebulae. NGC 2841 lies 46 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear).

This mosaic NASA photo obtained on December 23, 2010 is the sharpest wide-angle view ever obtained of the starburst galaxy, Messier 82 (M82). The galaxy is remarkable for its bright blue disk, webs of shredded clouds and fiery-looking plumes of glowing hydrogen blasting out of its central regions.Throughout the galaxy's center, young stars are being born 10 times faster than they are inside our entire Milky Way Galaxy, which results in a huge concentration of young stars carved into the gas and dust at the galaxy's center. The fierce galactic superwind generated from these stars compresses enough gas to make millions of more stars. In M82, young stars are crammed into tiny but massive star clusters. These, in turn, congregate by the dozens to make the bright patches, or starburst clumps, in the central in the central parts of M82. The clusters in the clumps can only be distinguished in the sharp Hubble images. Most of the pale, white objects sprinkled around the body of M82 that look like fuzzy stars are actually individual star clusters about 20 light-years across and contain up to a million stars. in the central parts of M82. The clusters in the clumps can only be distinguished in the sharp Hubble images. Most of the pale, white objects sprinkled around the body of M82 that look like fuzzy stars are actually individual star clusters about 20 light-years across and contain up to a million stars.

A small portion of one of the largest seen star-birth regions in the galaxy, the Carina Nebula. Towers of cool hydrogen laced with dust rise from the wall of the nebula. Reminiscent of Hubble's classic image of the Eagle Nebula dubbed the 'Pillars of Creation' this image is even more striking in appearance. Captured here are the top of a three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and the dust that is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby bright stars. The pillar is also being pushed apart from within, as infant stars buried inside it fire off jets of gas that can be seen streaming from towering peaks like arrows sailing through the air.

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope handout image creates a picture composed of gas and dust, the pillar resides in a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The image shows that astronomers are given a much more complete view of the pillar and its contents when distinct details not seen at visible wavelengths are uncovered in near-infrared light. Scorching radiation and fast winds (streams of charged particles) from these stars are sculpting the pillar and causing new stars to form within it. Streamers of gas and dust can be seen flowing off the top of the structure.

This portrait of StephanÕs Quintet, also known as Hickson Compact Group 92, was taken by the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) aboard NASAÕs Hubble Space Telescope. StephanÕs Quintet, as the name implies, is a group of five galaxies. The name, however, is a bit of a misnomer. Studies have shown that group member NGC 7320, at upper left, is actually a foreground galaxy about seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the group.

The image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, which boasts nearly 10 million stars. Globular clusters, ancient swarms of stars united by gravity, are the homesteaders of our Milky Way galaxy. The stars in Omega Centauri are between 10 billion and 12 billion years old. The cluster lies about 16,000 light-years from Earth

What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit. A dying star that was once about five times the mass of the Sun is at the center of this fury. It has ejected its envelope of gases and is now unleashing a stream of ultraviolet radiation that is making the cast-off material glow. This object is an example of a planetary nebula, so-named because many of them have a round appearance resembling that of a planet when viewed through a small telescope.The Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a new camera aboard NASAÕs Hubble Space Telescope, snapped this image of the planetary nebula, catalogued as NGC 6302, but more popularly called the Bug Nebula or the Butterfly Nebula. NGC 6302 lies within our Milky Way galaxy, roughly 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpius.

This NASA handout Hubble Telescope image released July 24, 2009 shows Jupiter with an impact scar (Bottom-dark) from an object that collide with the planet on July 19. The spot was created when a small comet or asteroid plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrated. The only other time such a feature has been seen on Jupiter was 15 years ago after the collision of fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.

Astronaut Andrew Feustel (L) navigating near the Hubble Space Telescope tethered to the end of the remote manipulator system arm, which was controlled from inside Atlantis' crew cabin, during the mission's third spacewalk on 16 May 2009. Astronaut John Grunsfeld signals to his crewmate from just a few feet away. Astronauts Feustel and Grunsfeld were continuing servicing work on the giant observatory, which was locked down in the cargo bay of shuttle Atlantis.

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