Stars of wonder: Top 23 Hubble Discoveries

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Once upon a time, there was a star made famous by Christian tradition. The Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star has no concrete evidence to this date of an astronomical object. Nowadays we have NASA and the Hubble to record great astronomy and bring us breathtaking photos from space. Here are 23 famous Hubble discoveries and NASA heavy hitters.

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Hubble Ultra Deep Field

(image credit:NASA)

Hubble Ultra Deep Field peers deeper into space and farther back in time than any other before it. It shows around a billion years after the big bang. The universe was filled with dwarf galaxies but no formed galaxies like the Milky Way. Stare at this until you feel small and are in wonder of the mighty universe, and then peace on Earth doesn’t seem quite such an impossible feat.

SN 1006 Ribbon of Gas

ribbon of gas

(image credit:NASA)

More than 1,000 years ago a supernova exploded and left behind this ribbon of gas. In about AD 1006, astronomers from Europe, the Far East and Africa saw the light of the supernova. It is believed to be the brightest star ever seen by humans, even brighter than Venus. It was visible even during the day and stayed visible to the naked eye for at least two and half years. It’s not called SN 1006. If something like this was the cause of the Bethlehem star, there is no yet valid scientific proof of it.

Space NASA

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(image credits:NASA)

The top image is of the Whirlpool, also known as spiral galaxy M51. Young stars live inside the curving spiral arms while older stars reside in its yellowish core. On the bottom is the Sombrero galaxy or M104. The galaxy is tilted on its side and can been seen through small telescopes at the southern edge of the Virgo cluster. It is 50,000 light-years across and is located 28 million light-years from Earth. This massive object is equivalent to 800 billion suns.

Space NASA

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(image credits:NASA)

The Hubble peered into the Sagittarius Star Cloud, a narrow, dust-free region, providing this image of some of the oldest inhabitants of our galaxy. On the right, a dense swarm of stars and dust near the nucleus of spiral galaxy NGC 300 brought to us up close and personal by the Hubble even if the galaxy is 7 million light-years from Earth. On the bottom left, two clusters form MACS J0025 which is about a whopping quadrillion times the mass of the Sun. The Hubble was used map the (blue) dark matter, while the Chandra x-rayed hot (pink) gas.

Eagle Nebula

eagle nebula

(image credit:NASA)

Perhaps the most well-known image the Hubble has taken is the Eagle Nebula. This picture was taken on April 1995. The color image is constructed from three separate images taken in the light of emission from different types of atoms. Red shows emission from singly-ionized sulfur atoms. Green shows emission from hydrogen. Blue shows light emitted by doubly- ionized oxygen atoms. Eagle Nebula shows a nearby star-forming region 6,500 light-years away in the constellation Serpens.

Light Echo

2002nasa

(image credits:NASA)

This sequence of pictures was captured by the Hubble to demonstrate the echoing of light through space and reflecting off surrounding shells of dust to reveal a bull’s-eye. This shows the changes in the stellar dust as different parts are illuminated in an effect called ‘light echo.’ From the sequential images, the nebula appears to expand from 4 to 7 light-years and creates an illusion that the dust is expanding into space faster than the speed of light.

The Eyes of Space

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(image credits:NASA)

MyCn18 is one of the many eyes in space staring back at us, a young nebula about 8,000 light-years away. The nitrogen appears red, hydrogen looks green, and oxygen glows blue. The Cat’s Eye Nebula is on the upper right. When NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was launched in 1990, we mere human had no idea how many eyes would be found in outer space. On the bottom left, this sun-like star is dying, casting off its outer layers of gas. It’s called NGC 2440, a white dwarf that glows with ultraviolet light. The “Eskimo” Nebula on the bottom right is supposed to resemble a face surrounded by a fur parka. It is about 5,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Gemini.

Nebulae

nebulas

(image credits:NASA)

The Carina Nebula is located roughly 7,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Carina. Nebula appear colored and cloudy, yet another one of the spectacular and mind-boggling wonders that the Hubble has discovered. The Cone Nebula which appears red is a gaseous pillar about 2,500 light-years away. On the right, the shot of the star cluster Pismis was found in the direction of the Scorpious constellation.

Galactic Cannibalism

galaxies

(image credits:NASA)

The top image was taken after the public voted where the Hubble should next aim. These interacting galaxies are called Arp 274 and was the public winner after a vote to mark the International Year of Astronomy. On the bottom, a pair of galaxies located 300 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices were nicknamed The Mice because of their long tails of  gas and stars. Eventually, this pair will merge into one giant galaxy.

Space NASA

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(image credits:NASA)

At top left, Hubble peeked inside the cavern of roiling gas, dust and forming stars of the Orion Nebula. To the right, Hubble captured the Antennae, a pair of small galaxies smashing together. On the bottom left, Hubble delights us with a galaxy that may be powered by a black hole at its core. Spiral galaxy NGC 7742 shows a yellow core of active starbirth. Finally, piercing the heart of a glittering swarm of stars, NASA’s sharp-eyed Hubble Space Telescope zooms upon the central region of the globular cluster M22. It is a 12- to 14-billion-year-old grouping of stars in the constellation Sagittarius. The cluster’s core measures 3.3 light-years across.

Peace on Earth and good will to men.

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