Here Are 10 Of The Most Amazing Images Ever Captured By The Hubble Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope (HST), or just Hubble, is a space telescope that orbits outside Earth’s atmosphere, in a circular orbit around our planet at 593 km above sea level, with an orbital period between 96 and 97 min.

Named in honor of astronomer Edwin Hubble, it was placed in orbit on April 24, 1990, in the STS-31 mission and as a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency inaugurating the Great Observatories program.

The telescope can obtain images with an optical resolution higher than 0.1 seconds of arc.

The benefit of having a telescope placed beyond the distortion produced by the Earth’s atmosphere is that this way, we can eliminate the effects of atmospheric turbulence, in turn obtaining better images.

In addition, the atmosphere strongly absorbs electromagnetic radiation at certain wavelengths, especially in the infrared, decreasing the quality of the images and making it impossible to acquire spectra in certain bands characterized by the absorption of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Terrestrial telescopes are also affected by meteorological factors (presence of clouds) and light pollution caused by large urban settlements, which reduces the functionality of ground-based telescopes.

Here are a couple of facts about Hubble:

At the moment of being launched, it was the size of a four-story building, 13 meters long and 4 meters in diameter, and weighing more than 12 tons.

The most sophisticated camera of the Hubble Space Telescope has created a mosaic image of a large piece of the sky, which includes at least 10,000 galaxies.

The Hubble is located at 593 km above sea level.

With the Hubble Space Telescope, approximately one million objects have been observed. In comparison, the human eye can only see about 6000 stars with the naked eye.

The observations of the HST, about 500,000 photographs, occupy 1420 optical discs of 6.66 GB.

Hubble orbits the Earth at about 28,000 km / h, 10 circling our planet approximately every 97 minutes.

In spite of the great speed at which the Earth orbits, the telescope is able to point to a star with high precision (the deviation is less than the thickness of a human hair seen at a distance of one and a half kilometers).

Hubble has an index with the detailed position of 15 million stars (catalog H.G.S.C. or Hubble Guide Star Catalog) that allows it to aim at different cosmic targets with great precision.

The total distance that the Hubble has traveled around the Earth is about 3,000 million kilometers, which is more than a one-way trip to Neptune.

Astronomers from more than 45 countries have published discoveries made with Hubble in 4800 scientific articles.

So, without further ado, here are the most fascinating images ever taken by Hubble. Enjoy.

1280px Keyhole Nebula Hubble 1999
The Keyhole Nebula, within NGC 3372. A mosaic of four April 1999 images by Hubble’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. NASA, The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI) – Space Telescope Science Institute –

This Hubble image shows a spiral galaxy known as NGC 7331. First spotted by the prolific galaxy hunter William Herschel in 1784, NGC 7331 is located about 45 million light-years away in the constellation of Pegasus (the Winged Horse). Facing us partially edge-on, the galaxy showcases its beautiful arms, which swirl like a whirlpool around its bright central region. Astronomers took this image using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, as they were observing an extraordinary exploding star — a supernova — near the galaxy’s central yellow core. Named SN 2014C, it rapidly evolved from a supernova containing very little hydrogen to one that is hydrogen-rich — in just one year. This rarely observed metamorphosis was luminous at high energies and provides unique insight into the poorly understood final phases of massive stars. NGC 7331 is similar in size, shape and mass to the Milky Way. It also has a comparable star formation rate, hosts a similar number of stars, has a central supermassive black hole and comparable spiral arms. The primary difference between this galaxy and our own is that NGC 7331 is an unbarred spiral galaxy — it lacks a “bar” of stars, gas and dust cutting through its nucleus, as we see in the Milky Way. Its central bulge also displays a quirky and unusual rotation pattern, spinning in the opposite direction to the galactic disk itself. By studying similar galaxies we hold a scientific mirror up to our own, allowing us to build a better understanding of our galactic environment, which we cannot always observe, and of galactic behavior and evolution as a whole. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA/D. Milisavljevic (Purdue University) #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #HubbleFriday #galaxy #pegasus #whirlpool #supernova #evolution

A post shared by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) on

Hubble captured what looks like a colorful holiday ornament in space. It's actually an image of NGC 6326, a planetary nebula with glowing wisps of outpouring gas that are lit up by a central star nearing the end of its life. When a star ages and the red giant phase of its life comes to an end, it starts to eject layers of gas from its surface leaving behind a hot and compact white dwarf. Sometimes this ejection results in elegantly symmetric patterns of glowing gas, but NGC 6326 is much less structured. This object is located in the constellation of Ara, the Altar, about 11,000 light-years from Earth. Planetary nebulae are one of the main ways in which elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are dispersed into space after their creation in the hearts of stars. Eventually some of this out-flung material may form new stars and planets. Credit: NASA/Hubble #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #nebula

A post shared by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) on

#HubbleClassic These eerie, dark pillar-like structures are columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust that are also incubators for new stars. The towering pillars are about 5 light-years tall. Stars are being born deep inside the pillars, which are made of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula, a vast star-forming region 6,500 light-years from Earth. The pillars are bathed in the blistering ultraviolet light from a grouping of young, massive stars located off the top of the image. Streamers of gas can be seen bleeding off the pillars as the intense radiation heats and evaporates it into space. Denser regions of the pillars are shadowing material beneath them from the powerful radiation. The dark, finger-like feature at bottom right may be a smaller version of the giant pillars. Credit: NASA/Hubble #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #nebula

A post shared by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) on

#HubbleClassic Though the Cat's Eye Nebula was one of the first planetary nebulae to be discovered, it is one of the most complex such nebulae ever seen. Planetary nebulae form when Sun-like stars gently eject their outer gaseous layers, creating amazing and confounding shapes. The Cat's Eye Nebula, also known as NGC 6543, is a visual "fossil record" of the dynamics and late evolution of a dying star. It is estimated to be 1,000 years old. In 1994, initial Hubble observations revealed the nebula's surprisingly intricate structures, including gas shells, jets of high-speed gas, and unusual shock-induced knots of gas. Subsequent Hubble images showed a bull's-eye pattern of eleven or more concentric rings, or shells, of dust around the Cat's Eye. Each "ring" is actually the edge of a spherical bubble seen projected onto the sky — that's why it appears bright along its outer edge. Observations suggest the star that created the Cat's Eye Nebula ejected its mass in a series of pulses at 1,500-year intervals. These convulsions created dust shells, each of which contains as much mass as all of the planets in our solar system combined (still only one percent of the Sun's mass). These concentric shells make a layered, onion-skin structure around the dying star. The view from Hubble is like seeing an onion cut in half, where each skin layer is discernible. Credit: NASA/Hubble #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #nebula

A post shared by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) on

#HubbleClassic This series of images shows an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis. The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a flashbulb-like pulse of light 2 years ago. V838 Mon is located about 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Monoceros, placing the star at the outer edge of our Milky Way galaxy. Called a light echo, the expanding illumination of a dusty cloud around the star has been revealing remarkable structures ever since the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002. Though Hubble has followed the light echo in several snapshots, this image shows swirls or eddies in the dusty cloud for the first time. These eddies are probably caused by turbulence in the dust and gas around the star as they slowly expand away. The dust and gas were likely ejected from the star in a previous explosion, similar to the 2002 event, which occurred some tens of thousands of years ago. The surrounding dust remained invisible and unsuspected until suddenly illuminated by the brilliant explosion of the central star. The Hubble telescope has imaged V838 Mon and its light echo several times since the star's outburst in January 2002, in order to follow the constantly changing appearance of the dust as the pulse of illumination continues to expand away from the star at the speed of light. During the outburst event, the normally faint star suddenly brightened, becoming 600,000 times more luminous than our Sun. It was thus one of the brightest stars in the entire Milky Way, until it faded away again in April 2002. The star has some similarities to a class of objects called "novae," which suddenly increase in brightness due to thermonuclear explosions at their surfaces; however, the detailed behavior of V838 Mon, in particular its extremely red color, has been completely different from any previously known nova. Credit: NASA/Hubble #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos

A post shared by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) on

Roughly 50 million light-years away lies a somewhat overlooked little galaxy named NGC 1559. Pictured here by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, this barred spiral lies in the little-observed southern constellation of Reticulum (the Reticule). NGC 1559 has massive spiral arms chock-full of star formation, and is receding from us at a speed of about 808 miles per second (1,300 kilometers per second). The galaxy contains the mass of around ten billion suns — while this may sound like a lot, it is over 20 times less massive than the Milky Way. Although NGC 1559 appears in the sky near one of our closest galaxy neighbors, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), this is just a trick of perspective. In reality, NGC 1559 is physically nowhere near the LMC in space — in fact, it truly is a loner, lacking the company of any nearby galaxies or membership of any galaxy cluster. Despite its lack of cosmic companions, when this lonely galaxy has a telescope pointed in its direction, it puts on quite a show. NGC 1559 has hosted a variety of spectacular exploding stars called supernovae, four of which we have observed — in 1984, 1986, 2005, and 2009. NGC 1559 may be alone in space, but we are watching and admiring from far away. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #galaxy #spiral #HubbleFriday

A post shared by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) on

This image of distant interacting galaxies, known collectively as Arp 142, bears an uncanny resemblance to a penguin guarding an egg. Data from NASA's Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes have been combined to show these dramatic galaxies in light that spans the visible and infrared parts of the spectrum. This dramatic pairing shows two galaxies that couldn't look more different as their mutual gravitational attraction slowly drags them closer together. The "penguin" part of the pair, NGC 2336, was probably once a relatively normal-looking spiral galaxy, flattened like a pancake with smoothly symmetric spiral arms. Rich with newly-formed hot stars, seen in visible light from Hubble as bluish filaments, its shape has now been twisted and distorted as it responds to the gravitational tugs of its neighbor. Strands of gas mixed with dust stand out as red filaments detected at longer wavelengths of infrared light seen by Spitzer. The "egg" of the pair, NGC 2937, by contrast, is nearly featureless. The distinctly different greenish glow of starlight tells the story of a population of much older stars. The absence of glowing red dust features informs us that it has long since lost its reservoir of gas and dust from which new stars can form. While this galaxy is certainly reacting to the presence of its neighbor, its smooth distribution of stars obscures any obvious distortions of its shape. Eventually these two galaxies will merge to form a single object, with their two populations of stars, gas and dust intermingling. This kind of merger was likely a significant step in the history of most large galaxies we see around us in the nearby universe, including our own Milky Way. At a distance of about 23 million light-years, these two galaxies are roughly 10 times farther away than our nearest major galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy. The blue streak at the top of the image is an unrelated background galaxy that is farther away than Arp 142. Image credit: NASA-ESA/STScI/AURA/JPL-Caltech #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #animal #penguin #egg #galaxies

A post shared by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) on

Like it? Share with your friends!