The 25th anniversary of the Hubble telescope: the best photos of space
Photo: NASA / Hubble
25 years ago, the Hubble Automatic Observatory was launched aboard the NASA Discovery space shuttle into a low orbit 560 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. The total project costs, estimated for 1999, amounted to $ 6 billion from the US side and 593 million euros paid by the European Space Agency.
For a quarter century of the tool’s work, the information on outer space that he received was enough to publish about 13 thousand research papers. In addition, the orbiting telescope, which still rotates around the Earth at a speed of about 27 thousand km / h, took more than 1 million photographs, which can be used to judge the structure available for the study of the Universe.
Hubble, named after designer and inventor Edwin Hubble, is by far the most powerful orbiting telescope. At the same time, NASA plans to replace it with a more sophisticated orbiting observatory, James Webb, with a mirror with a diameter of 6.5 m (Hubble - 2.4 m). This will happen in the next few years.
The selection contains some of the best photographs of galaxies, nebulae, stars and planets made by the telescope in both visible and ultraviolet and infrared light. Most of the pictures went through post-processing.
Hubble’s team annually releases stunning photography to celebrate the anniversary of the launch of the space telescope on April 24, 1990. This time they presented to the world a photograph of the famous Horsehead Nebula, which is located in the constellation Orion 1500 light years from Earth.
This large galaxy may have been the first spiral nebula discovered. It is clearly seen that its arms and dust bands pass in front of the satellite galaxy (left). This pair is located at a distance of about 31 million light-years and officially belongs to the small constellation Hounds Dogs.
Spiral Galaxy M33
The medium-sized galaxy M33 is also called the Galaxy in the Triangle by the name of the constellation in which it is located. It is about 4 times smaller in radius than our Milky Way Galaxy and Andromeda Galaxy. M33 is located not far from the Milky Way, its angular dimensions are twice the size of the full moon, and it is clearly visible with good binoculars.
The Stephen Quintet
This group of galaxies is called the Stefan quintet. However, only four galaxies from this group, located three hundred million light-years from us, participate in space dance, now moving closer, or moving away from each other. Excess is quite simple to find. Four interacting galaxies have a yellowish color and curved loops and tails, the shape of which is due to the influence of destructive tidal gravitational forces. The bluish galaxy located in the upper left picture is much closer than the rest, just 40 million light-years from us.
Andromeda Galaxy - the closest to our Milky Way of the giant galaxies. Most likely, our galaxy looks about the same as this one. The hundreds of billions of stars that make up the Andromeda galaxy together give a visible diffuse glow. The individual stars in the image are actually the stars of our Galaxy, located much closer to the distant object.
There are many different astronomical objects in the vibrant Lagoon Nebula. Particularly interesting objects include a bright open star cluster and several active star formation regions.
Cat eye nebula
The Cat's Eye Nebula is one of the most famous planetary nebulae in the sky. Its memorable symmetrical forms are visible in the central part of this spectacular image in artificial colors, specially processed in order to show a huge, but very weak halo of a gaseous substance having a diameter of about three light years.
The small constellation Chameleon is located near the South Pole of the World. The picture reveals the amazing features of a modest constellation, which reveals many dusty nebulae and multi-colored stars. Blue reflective nebulae are scattered across the field.
Cosmic dust clouds, faintly glowing with reflected starlight, are hiding on the edge of the complex of molecular clouds Halo Cepheus, which is 1,200 light-years distant from us.
This confusion remained after the explosion of a star. The crab nebula is the result of a supernova explosion that was observed in 1054 AD. The supernova remnant is filled with mysterious fibers. The length of the Crab Nebula is ten light years. At the very center of the nebula is a pulsar - a neutron star with a mass equal to the mass of the Sun, which fits in an area the size of a small town.
Gravity Lens Mirage
This is a mirage from a gravitational lens. The bright red galaxy depicted in this photograph distorted light from a more distant blue galaxy with its gravity. Most often, such a distortion of light leads to the appearance of two images of a distant galaxy, however, in the case of a very precise superposition of the galaxy and the gravitational lens, the images merge into a horseshoe - an almost closed ring. This effect was predicted by Albert Einstein 70 years ago.
Star V838 Mon
For unknown reasons, in January 2002, the outer shell of the V838 Mon star suddenly expanded, making this star the brightest in the entire Milky Way. Then she also suddenly became weak. Astronomers had never seen such a flash before.
How are planets formed? To try to figure this out, the Hubble Space Telescope was tasked with staring at one of the most interesting nebulae in the sky - the Great Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula can be seen with the naked eye near the belt of the constellation Orion. The insets in this photo show numerous props, many of them are star nurseries, in which, probably, the forming planetary systems are located.
Star cluster R136
In the center of the star-forming region of the Golden Fish is a gigantic cluster of the largest, hottest and most massive of all the stars known to us. These stars form a cluster captured in this image.
Galaxy Silver Dollar
The brilliant NGC 253 is one of the brightest spiral galaxies we see, and at the same time one of the most dusty. Some call it the Silver Dollar Galaxy. Others simply call it the “Galaxy in the Sculptor” because it is located within the southern constellation Sculptor. This dusty galaxy is 10 million light-years away from us.
One of the closest spiral galaxies to us. From a distance that separates us from her, equal to 15 million light-years, she looks completely ordinary. However, if you look in more detail at the center of M83 with the help of the largest telescopes, this area will appear before us as a stormy and noisy place.
She really looks like a ring in the sky. Therefore, hundreds of years ago, astronomers called this nebula according to its unusual shape. It belongs to the class of planetary nebulae. These are gas clouds that emit stars that look like the Sun at the end of their lives. One of the earliest shots of Hubble.
Pillar and Jets in the Carina Nebula
This cosmic gas and dust pillar is two light years wide. The structure is located in one of the largest star-forming regions of our Galaxy, the Carina Nebula, which is visible in the southern sky and is 7500 light-years distant from us.
Omega Centauri Globular Cluster Center
In the center of the Omega Centauri globular cluster, stars are packed ten thousand times denser than in the vicinity of the Sun. The image shows a lot of faint yellow-white stars, smaller than our Sun, several orange red giants, as well as random blue stars. If suddenly two stars collide, then one more massive star may form, or they form a new binary system.
A giant cluster distorts and splits the image of the galaxy
This image is of a single unusual, bead-like, blue ring-shaped galaxy, which by chance turned out to be located behind a giant cluster of galaxies. According to recent studies, all in all, at least 330 images of individual distant galaxies can be found in the picture. This magnificent photograph was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in November 2004.
Three Particle Nebula
Multi-colored Three-part nebula allows you to explore cosmic contrasts. Also known as M20, it is located at a distance of about 5 thousand light-years in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius. The size of the nebula is about 40 light years.
A fantastic bunch of young blue star clusters, giant luminous gas clouds and dark dust veins surround the central region of the active galaxy Centaurus A. Centaurus A is located close to Earth, at a distance of 10 million light-years.
Bright clusters and nebulae in the night sky of planet Earth are often given names by the names of flowers or insects, and the nebula NGC 6302 is no exception. The central star of this planetary nebula is extremely hot: its surface temperature is about 250 thousand degrees Celsius.
Two colliding galaxies with merged spiral arms
This wonderful space portrait depicts two colliding galaxies with merged spiral arms. Above and to the left of the large spiral galaxy, you can see the third galaxy, which is also probably involved in the interaction. All these galaxies are located at a distance of about 450 million light-years from us in the cluster of galaxies in Hercules. At this distance, the image covers an area of more than 150 thousand light years. And although this species seems very unusual, now scientists know that collisions and subsequent mergers of galaxies are not uncommon.
Spiral Galaxy NGC 3521
The spiral galaxy NGC 3521 is only 35 million light-years from us in the direction of the constellation Leo. The galaxy, spanning 50,000 light-years, has features such as torn spiral arms of irregular shape, decorated with dust, pink areas of star formation and clusters of young bluish stars.
The appearance of the galaxy M104 resembles a hat, which is why it was called the Sombrero galaxy. The picture shows distinct dark streaks of dust and a bright halo of stars and globular clusters. The reasons why the Sombrero galaxy looks like a hat are the unusually large central star bulge and dense dark streaks of dust located in the disk of the galaxy, which we see almost from the edge.
M17: close-up view
Formed by stellar winds and radiation, these fantastic, wave-like formations are in the Omega nebula and enter the region of star formation. The Omega Nebula is located in the nebula-rich constellation Sagittarius and is located at a distance of 5500 light-years. Ragged condensations of dense and cold gas and dust are illuminated by the radiation of stars in the image at the top right, in the future they may become star-forming sites.
Nebula IRAS 05437 + 2502
It is not yet known what illuminates this nebula. Particularly mysterious is the bright arc in the form of an inverted letter V, which outlines the upper edge of mountains-like clouds of interstellar dust located near the center of the picture. In general, this ghost-like nebula includes a small star-forming region filled with dark dust. It was first seen in images taken by the IRAS satellite in infrared in 1983. Shown here is a wonderful, recently published image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Although a lot of new details are visible on it, the reason for the appearance of a bright, clear arc could not be established.