Using its infrared vision to peer nine billion years back in time, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered an extraordinary population of tiny, young galaxies that are brimming with star formation.
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The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been used to make an image of galaxy cluster MACS J1206.2-0847. The apparently distorted shapes of distant galaxies in the background is caused by an invisible substance called dark matter, whose gravity bends and distorts their light rays. MACS 1206 has been observed as part of a new survey of galaxy clusters using Hubble.
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Hubble’s famous images of galaxies typically show elegant spirals or soft-edged ellipses. But these neat forms are only representative of large galaxies. Smaller galaxies like the dwarf irregular galaxy Holmberg II come in many shapes and types that are harder to classify. This galaxy’s indistinct shape is punctuated by huge glowing bubbles of gas, captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
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The Andromeda Galaxy is revealed in unprecedented detail in four archive observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. They show stars and structure in the galaxy’s disc, the halo of stars that surrounds it, and a stream of stars left by a companion galaxy as it was torn apart and pulled in by the galaxy’s gravitational forces.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has made its millionth observation
since its launch 21 years ago. The telescope was used to search for the
chemical signature of water in the atmosphere of planet HAT-P-7b, a gas
giant larger than Jupiter which orbits the star HAT-P-7.
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A team of scientists has studied the galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora’s Cluster. They have pieced together the cluster’s complex and violent history using telescopes in space and on the ground, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope. Abell 2744 seems to be the result of a simultaneous pile-up of at least four separate galaxy clusters and this complex collision has produced strange effects that have never been seen together before.
This image of a pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 273 was released to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the launch of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
The distorted shape of the larger of the two galaxies shows signs of tidal interactions with the smaller of the two. It is thought that the smaller galaxy has actually passed through the larger one.
Hubble was launched April 24, 1990, aboard Discovery’s STS-31 mission. Hubble discoveries revolutionized nearly all areas of current astronomical research from planetary science to cosmology.
Arp 273 Zoom Sequence (Narrated)
Hubble Space Telescope Shows Quiescent Galaxy in All Its Glory
There’s a galaxy that lies about 46 million light-years away from our own galaxy that seems to have shut down most of its star-formation processes. This stellar city, called NGC 2841, is — by comparison to other spiral galaxies, not very active when it comes to star birth.
Galaxies like the Milky Way and Andromeda and other spirals are ablaze with emission nebulae — the regions where stars are born.
When you look at this one shown in an image from Hubble Space Telescope, you see a bright cusp of starlight that marks the center of NGC 2841. Dust lanes extend out from the center in a set of short spiral arms, and you can see whitish, middle-aged stars along the arms. There are also the faint tracings of blue light that indicate the presence of young, blue stars.
But, where are the nebulae where the next generation of stars will sprout? They would appear as brilliant regions of light along the arms. But, there really aren’t very many here. And that poses an interesting question for astronomers studying this galaxy: what’s happening in this galaxy to “quench” star birth? A likely scenario is that the young blue stars may well have destroyed the star-forming regions where they were born. With no nebulae left to collapse to form new stars, the process of star-creation would grind to a halt, as it appears to have done in this galaxy’s spiral arms.
It’s hard to believe, but I recall when the Hubble Space Telescope was launched (24 April 1990). I was working as a NASA contractor at the time and got to see the event at the auditorium of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland. Anyhow, both NASA (here) and ESA (here) are celebrating the anniversary with specially released images.
Yesterday, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) were able to confirm that the universe is apparently accelerating in its expansion. The first task that this team of astronomers needed to do was to “to assign distances to 194,000 of the galaxies” imaged by the HST. To accomplish this task, the group required a total of over 1000 hours of observations with the HST. Then the team had to examine the distant galaxies and determine the extent of their gravitational lensing effect. Finally, using derived masses and distances, the team was able to derive the rate of expansion of the universe, and they found that their data pointed to an accelerating expansion. Learn more about the latest confirmation of the accelerating expansion of the universe online now here.