Credits: NASA and STScI
1207 Composite Imageof the Cone Nebula, Edge-On Galaxy NGC 4013, and Galaxy IRAS 19297-0406
Credits: NASA, The NICMOS Group (STScI, ESA) and The NICMOS Science Team (Univ. of Arizona)
4577 Artist's Illustration of Comet 2I/Borisov's Orbit (Annotated)
Orbital Path of First Confirmed Interstellar Comet This annotated illustration shows the path of comet 2I/Borisov through our solar system. This visitor came from interstellar space along a hyperbolic trajectory. It is only the second known intruder to zoom through our solar system. (The interstellar object 'Oumuamua was detected in 2017.) As the graphic shows, the comet's straight path across interstellar space is slightly deflected by the gravitational pull of our Sun. The comet is traveling so fast, at 110,000 miles per hour, it will eventually leave the solar system. The panel on the right shows the comet's position relative to Earth when the Hubble Space Telescope observed it on October 12, 2019, when the comet was 260 million miles from Earth. The background star field in the left panel is the constellation Eridanus. The background field in the right panel is the constellation Sagittarius.
Credits: NASA, ESA, and J. Olmsted and F. Summers (STScI)
3081 Hubble Discovers a Fifth Moon Orbiting Pluto
This image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows five moons orbiting the distant, icy dwarf planet Pluto. The green circle marks the newly discovered moon, designated P5, as photographed by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 on July 7. Other observations that collectively show the moon's orbital motion were taken on June 26, 27, 29, and July 9, 2012. The moon is estimated to be 6 to 15 miles across. It is in a 58,000-mile-diameter circular orbit around Pluto that is assumed to be co-planar with the other satellites in the system. The observations will help scientists in their planning for the July 2015 flyby of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft.
Credits: NASA, ESA, and M. Showalter (SETI Institute)
3639 Jupiter Global Map from Hubble OPAL Data, Rotation 2
The data in this Jupiter map were taken during Hubble Outer Planet Atmospheres Legacy program observations of the planet using the Wide Field Camera 3 on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope from 15:00 UT to 23:40 UT on Jan. 19, 2015.
Credits: NASA, ESA, A. Simon (GSFC), M. Wong (UC Berkeley), and G. Orton (JPL-Caltech)
184 Jupiter Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impact Frame E: July 21, 1994
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 image of Jupiter Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 Impact. This image was taken on July 21, 1994, 90.4 hours after Frame A.
Credits: Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Space Telescope Comet Team
4457 HUBBLE FAVORITE: Star Cluster R136
Credits: NASA, ESA, and P. Crowther (University of Sheffield)
Credits: NASA, ESA, and P. Sell (Texas Tech University)
338 Beta Pictoris
3243 Ultra-compact Dwarf Galaxy M60-UCD1
The densest galaxy in the nearby universe may have been found. The galaxy, known as M60-UCD1, is located near a massive elliptical galaxy NGC 4649, also called M60, about 54 million light-years from Earth. This composite image shows M60 and the region around it, where data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory are pink and data from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are red, green and blue. The Chandra image shows hot gas and double stars containing black holes and neutron stars, and the Hubble image reveals stars in M60 and neighboring galaxies including M60-UCD1. The arrow points to M60-UCD1. Packed with an extraordinary number of stars, M60-UCD1 is an "ultra-compact dwarf galaxy." It was discovered with Hubble, and follow-up observations were done with Chandra and ground-based optical telescopes. It is the most luminous known galaxy of its type and one of the most massive, weighing 200 million times more than our Sun, based on observations with the Keck 10-meter telescope in Hawaii. Remarkably, about half of this mass is found within a radius of only about 80 light-years. This would make the density of stars about 15,000 times greater than found in Earth's neighborhood in the Milky Way, meaning that the stars are about 25 times closer. The 6.5-meter Multiple Mirror Telescope in Arizona was used to study the amount of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium in stars in M60-UCD1. The values were found to be similar to our Sun. Another intriguing aspect of M60-UCD1 is that the Chandra data reveal the presence of a bright X-ray source in its center. One explanation for this source is a giant black hole weighing in at some 10 million times the mass of the Sun. Astronomers are trying to determine if M60-UCD1 and other ultra-compact dwarf galaxies are either born as jam-packed star clusters or if they are galaxies that get smaller because they have stars ripped away from them. Large black holes are not found in star clusters, so if the X-ray source is in fact due to a massive black hole, it was likely produced by collisions between the M60-UCD1 and one or more nearby galaxies. M60-UCD1's great mass and the abundances of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium are also arguments for the theory that galaxy is the remnant of a much larger galaxy. If this stripping did occur, then the galaxy was originally 50 to 200 times more massive than it is now, which would make the mass of its black hole relative to the original mass of the galaxy more like the Milky Way and many other galaxies. It is possible that this stripping took place long ago and that M60-UCD1 has been stalled at its current size for several billion years. The researchers estimate that M60-UCD1 is more than about 10 billion years old. These results appear online and have been published in the September 20th issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters. The first author is Jay Strader, of Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI. The co-authors are Anil Seth from University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT; Duncan Forbes from Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Australia; Giuseppina Fabbiano from Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), Cambridge, MA; Aaron Romanowsky from San Jose State University, San Jose, CA; Jean Brodie from University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, CA; Charlie Conroy from University of California, Santa Cruz, CA; Nelson Caldwell from CfA; Vincenzo Pota and Christopher Usher from Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Australia; and Jacob Arnold from University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory, Santa Cruz, CA.
Credits: NASA, ESA, CXC, and J. Strader (Michigan State University)
4553 Exoplanet GJ 3470 b Structure
This artist's illustration shows the theoretical internal structure of the exoplanet GJ 3470 b. It is unlike any planet found in the Solar System. Weighing in at 12.6 Earth masses the planet is more massive than Earth but less massive than Neptune. Unlike Neptune, which is 3 billion miles from the Sun, GJ 3470 b may have formed very close to its red dwarf star as a dry, rocky object. It then gravitationally pulled in hydrogen and helium gas from a circumstellar disk to build up a thick atmosphere. The disk dissipated many billions of years ago, and the planet stopped growing. The bottom illustration shows the disk as the system may have looked long ago. Observations by NASA's Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes have chemically analyzed the composition of GJ 3470 b's very clear and deep atmosphere, yielding clues to the planet's origin. Many planets of this mass exist in our galaxy.
Credits: NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI)
1056 Saturn — October 1997
Credits: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
1491 "Light Echo" Illuminates Dust Around Supergiant Star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon)
"Starry Night," Vincent van Gogh's famous painting, is renowned for its bold whorls of light sweeping across a raging night sky. Although this image of the heavens came only from the artist's restless imagination, a new picture from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope bears remarkable similarities to the van Gogh work, complete with never-before-seen spirals of dust swirling across trillions of miles of interstellar space. This image, obtained with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on February 8, 2004, is Hubble's latest view of an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon). 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 two 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 new 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 two years ago. 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. Nature's own piece of performance art, this structure will continue to change its appearance in coming years as the light from the stellar outburst continues to propagate outward and bounce off more distant black clouds of dust. Astronomers expect the echoes to remain visible for at least the rest of the current decade.
Credits: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)
1996 NOAO Antennae Galaxies
Composite color image of Antennae Galaxies taken with 20" telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory.
Credits: Bob and Bill Twardy/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
1528 Ring Galaxy AM 0644-741
Credits: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI); Acknowledgment: J. Higdon (Cornell U.) and I. Jordan (STScI)
357 Proplyd in Orion Nebula
A three-color composite image of a proplyd in the Orion Nebula, taken in blue, green, and red emission lines from glowing gas in the nebula.
Credits: Mark McCaughrean (Max-Planck-Institute for Astronomy), C. Robert O'Dell (Rice University), and NASA
3542 Compass and Scale Image of 47 Tucanae
Credits: NASA, ESA, and H. Richer and J. Heyl (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada); Acknowledgment: J. Mack (STScI) and G. Piotto (University of Padova, Italy)
2157 Vesta - May 14, 2007
Hubble observations of Vesta were taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on May 14 and 16, 2007.
Credits: NASA, ESA, and L. McFadden (University of Maryland)
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