“Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là” ~ Pierre-Simon Laplace

October 19, 2008

Best of NASA Hubble telescope Images

Filed under: Astronomy — yowie3120 @ 4:09 pm

One of the universe’s most stately and photogenic galaxies, the Sombrero galaxy, Messier 104 (M104) is a brilliant white, bulbous core encircled by the thick dust lanes comprising the spiral structure of the galaxy. As seen from Earth, the galaxy is tilted nearly edge-on. We view it from just six degrees north of its equatorial plane. This brilliant galaxy was named the Sombrero because of its resemblance to the broad rim and high-topped Mexican hat. The Hubble Heritage Team took these observations in May-June 2003 with the space telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

 
 

 
 

From ground-based telescopes, the so-called “ant nebula” (Menzel 3, or Mz 3) resembles the head and thorax of a garden-variety ant. This dramatic NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, showing 10 times more detail, reveals the “ant’s” body as a pair of fiery lobes protruding from a dying, Sun-like star.

 
 

 
 

NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) captured this mosaic of The Tarantula Nebula. The Tarantula is situated 170,000 light-years away in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) in the Southern sky and is clearly visible to the naked eye as a large milky patch. Astronomers believe that this smallish irregular galaxy is currently going through a violent period in its life. It is orbiting around the Milky Way and has had several close encounters with it.

 
 

 
 

The Hubble telescope has captured an image of an unusual edge-on galaxy, revealing remarkable details of its warped dusty disk and showing how colliding galaxies spawn the formation of new generations of stars. The dust and spiral arms of normal spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way, appear flat when viewed edge-on. This Hubble Heritage image of ESO 510-G13 shows a galaxy that, by contrast, has an unusual twisted disk structure, first seen in ground-based photographs.

 
 

 
 

 
 

In its first glimpse of the heavens following the successful December 1999 servicing mission, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captured a majestic view of the Eskimo Nebula, a planetary nebula, the glowing remains of a dying, Sun-like star.

 
 

The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, has captured a spectacular pair of galaxies engaged in a celestial dance of cat and mouse or, in this case, mouse and mouse. Located 300 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices, the colliding galaxies have been nicknamed “The Mice” because of the long tails of stars and gas emanating from each galaxy. Otherwise known as NGC 4676, the pair will eventually merge into a single giant galaxy.

 
 

The Hubble Space Telescope captured this interesting photo of the inside of an inflating, see-through space bubble. The transparent bubble is considered a nebula, and it is called N44F. The scene is about 160,000 light-years away in a neighboring galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud.

 
 

The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope used a natural ‘zoom lens’ in space to boost its view of the distant universe. Hubble peered straight through the center of one of the most massive galaxy clusters known, called Abell 1689. For this observation, Hubble had to gaze at the distant cluster, located 2.2 billion light-years away, for more than 13 hours. The gravity of the cluster’s trillion stars – plus dark matter – acts as a 2-million-light-year-wide ‘lens’ in space.

 
 

 
 

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Trifid Nebula reveals a stellar nursery being torn apart by radiation from a nearby, massive star. The picture also provides a peek at embryonic stars forming within an ill-fated cloud of dust and gas, which is destined to be eaten away by the glare from the massive neighbor.

 
 

 
 

The Hubble Space Telescope captured this image of the Cat’s Eye Nebula on September 9, 2004. The Cat’s Eye Nebula looks like the penetrating eye of the disembodied sorcerer Sauron from the film adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings.”

 
 

 
 

Hubble Space Telescope continues snapping breathtaking pictures of the solar system’s most photogenic planet. This view, taken on March 22, 2004, is so sharp that many individual ringlets can be seen in Saturn’s ring plane.

 
 

 
 

 
 

The ‘Ghost Head Nebula’ is one of a chain of star-forming regions lying south of the 30 Doradus nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Two bright regions (the ‘eyes of the ghost’), named A1 (left) and A2 (right), are very hot, glowing `blobs’ of hydrogen and oxygen. The bubble in A1 is produced by the hot, intense radiation and powerful stellar wind from a single massive star. A2 has a more complex appearance due to the presence of more dust, and it contains several hidden, massive stars.

 
 

 
 

This Hubble telescope snapshot of MyCn18, a young planetary nebula, reveals that the object has an hourglass shape with an intricate pattern of “etchings” in its walls. A planetary nebula is the glowing relic of a dying, Sun-like star.

 
 

 
 

In the most active starburst region in the local universe lays a cluster of brilliant, massive stars, known to astronomers as Hodge 301. Hodge 301, seen in the lower right hand corner of this image, lives inside the Tarantula Nebula in our galactic neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud.

 
 

 
 


This Hubble photograph captures a small region within Messier 17 (M17), a hotbed of star formation. M17, also known as the Omega or Swan Nebula, is located about 5500 light-years away in the Sagittarius constellation. The wave-like patterns of gas have been sculpted and illuminated by a torrent of ultraviolet radiation from young, massive stars (which lie outside the picture to the upper left).

 
 

This picture taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope reveals that the spots scattered across the upper half of the planet are a rare alignment of three of Jupiter’s largest moons – Io, Ganymede, and Callisto – across the planet’s face. Two of the moons are directly visible in the image. Io is the white circle in the center, and Ganymede is the blue circle at upper right. Callisto is out of the image and to the right. The image was taken March 28, 2004.

 
 


The Boomerang Nebula is a young planetary nebula and the coldest object found in the Universe so far. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is yet another example of how Hubble’s sharp eye reveals surprising details in celestial objects. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a young planetary nebula known (rather curiously) as the Boomerang Nebula. It is in the constellation of Centaurus, 5000 light-years from Earth. Planetary nebulae form around a bright, central star when it expels gas in the last stages of its life.

 
 

 
 


Astronomers, using the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on board the Hubble Space Telescope in October and November 1997 and April 1999, imaged the Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635) with unprecedented clarity. For the first time, they were able to understand the geometry and dynamics of this very complicated system. Earlier pictures taken of the nebula with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 1 left many issues unanswered, as the data could not be fully calibrated for scientific use. In addition, those data never imaged the enigmatic inner structure presented here.

 
 

 
 

This picture of the galaxy UGC 10214 was taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which was installed aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in March during Servicing Mission 3B. Dubbed the ‘Tadpole’, this spiral galaxy is unlike the textbook images of stately galaxies. A small interloper, a very blue, compact, galaxy visible in the upper left corner of the more massive Tadpole, caused its distorted shape. The Tadpole resides about 420 million light-years away in the constellation Draco.

 
 

 
 

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope captures the iridescent tapestry of star birth in a neighboring galaxy in this panoramic view of glowing gas, dark dust clouds, and young, hot stars. The star-forming region, catalogued as N11B lies in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), located only 160,000 light-years from Earth. With its high resolution, the Hubble Space Telescope is able to view details of star formation in the LMC as easily as ground-based telescopes are able to observe stellar formation within our own Milky Way galaxy.

 
 

 
 

 
 

Strangely glowing dark clouds float serenely in this remarkable and beautiful image taken with the Hubble Space Telescope. These dense, opaque dust clouds — known as ‘globules’ — are silhouetted against nearby bright stars in the busy star-forming region, IC 2944. Astronomer A.D. Thackeray first spied the globules in IC 2944 in 1950.

 
 

 
 

 
 

The Hubble telescope captured a display of starlight, glowing gas, and silhouetted dark clouds of interstellar dust in this 4-foot-by-8-foot image of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1300. NGC 1300 is considered to be prototypical of barred spiral galaxies. Barred spirals differ from normal spiral galaxies in that the arms of the galaxy do not spiral all the way into the center, but are connected to the two ends of a straight bar of stars containing the nucleus at its center.

 
 

 
 

Undersea corral? Enchanted castles? Space serpents? On April 1, 1995, Hubble snapped this image of pillar-like structures in the Eagle nebula. These eerie, dark pillar-like structures are columns of cool, interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that serve as incubators for new stars.

 
 

This image resembling Vincent van Gogh’s painting, “Starry Night,” is an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon). This Hubble Telescope image was obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on February 8, 2004.

 
 

 
 

The Whirlpool galaxy, M51, has been one of the most photogenic galaxies in amateur and professional astronomy. 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.

 
 

 
 

Surprisingly complex loops and blobs of cosmic dust lie hidden in the giant elliptical galaxy NGC 1316. This image was created on March 31, 2005, from data gathered by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and shows dust lanes and star clusters in this giant galaxy. Astronomers say these characteristics give a clue as to how this galaxy was formed. This image was featured as our Image of the Day

 
 

 
 

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute, on March 9, 2004, unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind. Called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called “dark ages,” the time shortly after the big bang when the first stars reheated the cold, dark universe. The new image should offer new insights into what types of objects reheated the universe long ago.

 
 

 
 

Resembling a nightmarish beast rearing its head from a crimson sea, this celestial object is actually just a pillar of gas and dust. Called the Cone Nebula (in NGC 2264) – so named because in ground-based images it has a conical shape – this monstrous pillar resides in a turbulent star-forming region. This picture, taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, on May 11, 2002, shows the upper 2.5 light-years of the Cone, a height that equals 23 million roundtrips to the Moon. The entire pillar is seven light-years long.

 
 

 
 

Resembling a rippling pool illuminated by underwater lights, the artificial “Easter-Egg” colors in this image are used to dissect how the light reflects off the smoke-sized dust particles and then heads toward Earth. The Egg Nebula is located 3,000 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus. This image was taken with Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys in September and October 2002.

 
 

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 the Hubble Space Telescope. The picture is a montage assembled from four different April 1999 telescope pointings. 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 is about 8000 light-years from Earth.

 
 

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