Hubble has snapped a spectacular view of M66, the largest "player" of the Leo Triplet, and a galaxy with an unusual anatomy: it displays asymmetric spiral arms and an apparently displaced core. The peculiar anatomy is most likely caused by the gravitational pull of the other two members of the trio.
This Hubblecast features a spectacular new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image - one of the largest ever released of a star-forming region. It highlights N11, part of a complex network of gas clouds and star clusters within our neighbouring galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud. This region of energetic star formation is one of the most active in the nearby Universe. More information: http://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/heic1011a/
A spectacular new image of an unusual spiral galaxy in the Coma Galaxy Cluster has been created from data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. It reveals lots of new details of the galaxy, NGC 4921, as well as an extraordinary rich background of more remote galaxies stretching back to the early Universe.
In January and March 2009, researchers using Hubble took advantage of a rare opportunity to record Saturn when its rings are edge-on, resulting in a unique movie featuring both of the giant planet's poles. Saturn is only in this position every 15 years or so and this favourable orientation has allowed a sustained study of the two beautiful and dynamic aurorae, Saturn's own northern and southern lights.
Visible to the naked eye, only 1500 light-years from Earth, the great Orion Nebula has been known and revered since ancient times. A popular target of Hubble, researchers have now identified 42 new discs within it that could be the beginnings of new planetary systems like our own.
The fifth and final mission to the iconic Hubble Space Telescope was a long time coming. After a delay in the fall of 2008, spring brought new hope and, on 11 May, the seven Space Shuttle crew members headed for the mission of a lifetime.
A recent NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures what appears to be one very bright and bizarre galaxy, but is actually the result of a pair of spiral galaxies, like our own Milky Way, smashing together at incredible speeds. This object was a target of Hubble's and a handful of its "sibling" spacecraft as part of a massive comprehensive sky survey called GOALS.
The Hubble Space Telescope has solved a long-standing puzzle by resolving giant but delicate filaments shaped by a strong magnetic field around the active galaxy NGC 1275. It is the most striking example so far of the influence of the immense tentacles of extragalactic magnetic fields. The Hubble Space Telescope has solved a long-standing puzzle by resolving giant but delicate filaments shaped by a strong magnetic field around the active galaxy NGC 1275. It is the most striking example so far of the influence of the immense tentacles of extragalactic magnetic fields.
When Hubble was launched in 1990, every astronomer knew it had an opportunity to make profound breakthroughs in science. A few realised its potential as a tool for inspiring people with awe for the Universe. But could anyone have predicted how deeply Hubble would become embedded in popular culture? More information: http://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/hubblecast38a/
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has discovered an extrasolar planet, for the first time using direct visible-light imaging. The strange world is far-flung from its parent star, is surrounded by a colossal belt of gas and dust, and may even have rings more impressive than Saturn's.
The Hubblecast's Joe Liske (Dr J) takes us on a tour of the Tarantula Nebula. Bright star forming gas clouds, super star clusters and supernova remnants are just some of the sights in this dramatic region of the night sky.
Shuttle astronauts will visit the Hubble Space Telescope for the final time in May 2009. In five bold and daring spacewalks, they will upgrade Hubble's instruments allowing it to continue making remarkable scientific discoveries well into the next decade.
In this new Hubblecast episode, Dr. J guides us through the sixth chapter of Eyes on the Skies, the International Astronomical Union's movie celebrating the telescope on its 400th anniversary in 2009. There's no better place for a telescope than space itself. Above the Earth's atmosphere observations are no longer hampered by air turbulence, so telescopic images of distant stars and galaxies are razor-sharp. Unlike a ground-based telescope, an instrument in Earth orbit can operate twenty-four hours a day and reach every part of the sky. Observing from space also makes it possible to study types of radiation that are otherwise absorbed by the atmosphere. Little wonder that the Hubble Space Telescope has made so many contributions to astronomy.
In this new Hubblecast episode, Dr. J guides us through the fourth chapter of Eyes on the Skies, the International Astronomical Union's movie celebrating the telescope on its 400th anniversary in 2009. Observing the Universe through the eyepiece of a telescope is one thing, but recording the observations for posterity is something quite different. Originally astronomers used pen and paper to draw what they saw, but the human eye is a lousy detector and our brain can play tricks on us. Astrophotography, first explored in the mid-nineteenth century, has proved to be a powerful, objective way of recording telescopic images with the advantage that long exposures revealed much more than the eye could ever see.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has made the first detection ever of an organic molecule in a planet orbiting another star. This breakthrough is an important step in eventually identifying signs of life on a planet outside our Solar System.
In this new Hubblecast episode, Dr. J guides us through the fifth chapter of Eyes on the Skies, the International Astronomical Union's movie celebrating the telescope on its 400th anniversary in 2009. The Universe is a black void, with a scattering of stars, nebulae and galaxies – or so it appears to observers using visible light. But if we include other forms of radiation invisible to us, the picture changes completely: clouds of interstellar hydrogen gas, emitting radio waves; stellar nurseries, glowing in the infrared; explosive outbursts of gamma rays and the all-sky background hiss of the Big Bang, diluted by almost fourteen billion years of cosmic expansion. So how do astronomers learn about the unseen Universe?
In this new Hubblecast episode, Dr. J guides us through the third chapter of Eyes on the Skies, the International Astronomical Union's official movie celebrating the telescope on its 400th anniversary in 2009. Progress in telescopic astronomy would have come to a grinding halt in the second half of the twentieth century if it weren't for the digital revolution. Powerful computers have enabled a wealth of new technologies that have resulted in the construction of giant telescopes, perched on high mountaintops with monolithic or segmented mirrors as large as swimming pools.
In this new Hubblecast episode, Dr. J guides us through the second chapter of Eyes on the Skies, the International Astronomical Union's official movie celebrating the telescope on its 400th anniversary in 2009. In their quest for ever-fainter objects and finer detail, astronomers have always demanded bigger telescopes. Scientific vision, technical nerve and personal perseverance led to the giant observatories of the early 20th century.
In this new Hubblecast Special episode, Dr. J guides us through the seventh chapter of Eyes on the Skies, the International Astronomical Union's movie celebrating the telescope's 400th anniversary in 2009. The telescope has been mankind's window on the Universe for four hundred years. It has provided scientists with unprecedented views of planets, stars and galaxies from our cosmic doorstep to the very depths of space and time. But despite their incredible performance, even the newest and most powerful telescopes leave room for improvement. Astronomers always want to venture beyond their current horizons. In this final chapter we take a look at things to come — the revolutionary ground-based telescopes and space observatories of the future.
For nineteen years, NASA/ESA' s Hubble Space Telescope has made some of the most dramatic discoveries in the history of astronomy but it has also helped scientists learn more about our own Solar System. From its vantage point 600 km above the Earth, Hubble has studied every planet in our Solar System except Mercury where light from the Sun would damage its instruments. Hubble has captured the impact of a comet on Jupiter, immense storms on Neptune and even tiny dwarf planets at the edge of our Solar System. The veteran telescope keeps a watchful eye on our solar backyard.