HAPPY 24th BIRTHDAY TO THE HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE!
About 1,500 galaxies are visible in this deep view of the universe, taken by allowing the Hubble Space Telescope to stare at the same tiny patch of sky for 10 consecutive days in 1995. The image covers an area of sky only about width of a dime viewed from 75 feet away.
(Credit: Robert Williams and the Hubble Deep Field Team (STScI) and NASA)
I also wanted to share this fascinating excerpt about Hubble from Ross Andersen in his essay “Golden Eye”:
In its two decades in space, the telescope has captured an astonishing range of images, from the glowing ring of the Sombrero Galaxy to the ghostly arabesques of the Eagle Nebula. It has also confirmed a number of theoretical phenomena, including dark energy, the mysterious force pushing the universe apart at ever increasing speeds. Historically, discoveries of pure science are slow to reach the mainstream compared with those of the applied sciences, which noisily announce themselves with new medicines and gadgets.
The Hubble has proved an exception, remaking, in a single generation, the popular conception of the universe. It has accomplished this primarily through the aesthetic force of its discoveries, which distill the difficult abstractions of astrophysics into singular expressions of color and light, vindicating Keats’s famous couplet: “Beauty is truth, truth beauty.” Though philosophy has hardly registered it, the Hubble has given us nothing less than an ontological awakening, a forceful reckoning with what is. The telescope compels the mind to contemplate space and time on a scale just shy of the infinite.
Favourite quotes by person: Carl Sagan
NASA Takes “Rose” Galaxy Photo for Hubble Telescope Anniversary
Who knew we had a “rose-shaped” galaxy in space? The astronomers who run the Hubble Space Telescope did. In celebration of the 21st anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope’s deployment into space, astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, pointed Hubble’s eye to an especially photogenic group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273.
The larger of the spiral galaxies, known as UGC 1810, has a disk that is tidally distorted into a rose-like shape by the gravitational tidal pull of the companion galaxy below it, known as UGC 1813. A swath of blue jewels across the top is the combined light from clusters of intensely bright and hot young blue stars. These massive stars glow fiercely in ultraviolet light.
This is a series of close-up views of the complex gas structures in a small portion of the Carina Nebula. The nebula is a cold cloud of predominantly hydrogen gas. It is laced with dust, which makes the cloud opaque. The cloud is being eroded by a gusher of ultraviolet light from young stars in the region. They sculpt a variety of fantasy shapes, many forming tadpole-like structures. In some frames, smaller pieces of nebulosity can be seen freely drifting, such as the 2.3-trillion-mile-long structure at upper right. The most striking feature is a 3.5-trillion-mile-long horizontal jet in the upper left frame. It is being blasted into space by a young star hidden in the tip of the pillar-like structure. A bowshock has formed near the tip of the jet.
"A Very Small Man can Cast a Very Large Shadow" - George R.R. Martin
The three snapshots of the volcanic moon rounding Jupiter were taken over a 1.8-hour time span. Io is roughly the size of Earth’s moon but 2,000 times farther away. In two of the images, Io appears to be skimming Jupiter’s cloud tops, but it’s actually 310, 000 miles (500,000 kilometers) away. Io zips around Jupiter in 1.8 days, whereas the moon circles Earth every 28 days.
The conspicuous black spot on Jupiter is Io’s shadow and is about the size of the moon itself (2,262 miles or 3,640 kilometers across). This shadow sails across the face of Jupiter at 38,000 mph (17 kilometers per second). The smallest details visible on Io and Jupiter measure 93 miles (150 kilometers) across, or about the size of Connecticut.
Hubble’s sharpest view of the Orion Nebula
For maximum epicness click here. Prepare to have your jaws dropped.
Image credit & copyright: Salvatore Grasso