Hubble captures stunning image of squabbling galaxies



31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble took this image of the rare blue variable star AG Carinae, located 20,000 light years from Earth in the Milky Way galaxy, to celebrate the 31st anniversary of its launch. The star experienced several explosions which created its distinctive halo.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light years from Earth and is located in Belt of Orion in the constellation Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae – and on a clear, dark night it is visible to the naked eye. The nebula is the region of star formation closest to Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope was launched from Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble has given us many images of our neighbor Mars. This image was taken in 2003, when Mars made its closest approach in nearly 60,000 years. On August 27, 2003, the two worlds were only 34.6 million kilometers apart from center to center. In contrast, Mars can be around 249 million kilometers from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble took this image in 2007 of Ganymede appearing to be looking under Jupiter. Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system, and it is even larger than Mercury.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble captured this image of Saturn in 2004, a view so sharp that some of the planet’s smallest rings are visible.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble has been tracking clouds over Uranus in this image taken in 1997. The image is a composite of three near infrared images. The rings of the planet are prominent in the near infrared. Eight of Uranus’ 27 moons are visible in both images. Uranus is approximately 1.75 billion kilometers from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble captured this image of the distant blue-green world of Neptune in 2005. Fourteen different colored filters have been used to help scientists learn more about Neptune’s atmosphere. Neptune is approximately 2.8 billion kilometers from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble discovered four of Pluto’s five moons. In 2005: Nix and Hydra were found. Hubble discovered Kerberos in 2011 and Styx in 2012. The new discoveries joined Pluto’s large moon, Charon, which was discovered in 1978. Styx was found by scientists using Hubble to research potential dangers to the New spacecraft Horizons that flew over Pluto in July 2015. Pluto is approximately 2.9 billion kilometers from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

The iconic Horse’s Head Nebula is a favorite target for astronomers. Look closely and you will see what the head of a horse looks like soaring through the stars. This Hubble image captures the nebula in infrared wavelengths. The nebula is 1,600 light years from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

The Cat’s Eye Nebula is a group of glowing gases projected into space by a dying star. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows details of structures, including high-speed gas jets and unusual knots of gas. This color image is a composite of three images taken at different wavelengths. The nebula is estimated to be 1,000 years old. It is about 3000 light years from Earth in the constellation Draco.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

The insect or butterfly nebula looks like a butterfly whose wings stretch across the galaxy. It is actually a swirling cloud of gas released from a dying star. Scientists say the gas is over 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit and is spreading through space at over 600,000 miles per hour. This image was taken with the Hubble Wide Field Camera 3, a camera installed on Hubble when it was upgraded in May 2009 by the Shuttle astronauts. The nebula is located approximately 3,800 light years away in the constellation Scorpio.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Astronomers combined several Hubble images taken in 2014 to create an enhanced view of Hubble’s iconic 1995 “Pillars of Creation” image. The new image shows a wider view of the pillars, which stretch about 5 light years high. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula, located about 6500 light years from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

This enormous nebula is located 7,500 light years from Earth in the constellation Carina. It is one of the largest and brightest nebulae and it is a nursery for new stars. It also has several stars estimated to be at least 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun, including Eta Carinae, one of the brightest stars known and one of the most massive stars in the Milky Way.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

One of the closest neighbors to our own Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, can be seen with the naked eye if you know where to look on a clear, dark night. In 2012, scientists using data from Hubble predicted that Andromeda would collide with the Milky Way in about four billion years. Andromeda is 2.5 million light years from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

The Cigar Galaxy is 12 million light years away. It takes its name from its shape: from the Earth, it looks like an elongated elliptical disc.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

It’s called one of the most photogenic galaxies: the Sombrero galaxy looks like the giant wide brim of a Mexican hat sitting among the stars. It can be spotted using a small telescope. It’s about 28 million light years from Earth.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

This group of galaxies is located approximately 290 million light years from Earth. It is named after its discoverer, the French astronomer Edouard Stephan, who first spotted it in 1877.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble captured this image of a group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The larger galaxy has a central disk that is distorted into a rose shape by the attraction of its partner below.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

In 2004, astronomers unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever made. Called the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, the million-second exhibit shows the first galaxies to emerge shortly after the Big Bang. The image shows around 10,000 galaxies. In 2012, astronomers assembled an improved image called the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field. It combined 10 years of Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky in the center of Hubble’s original ultra-deep field. The new image contains approximately 5,500 galaxies.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

This Hubble 2018 image shows the Lagoon Nebula, a chaotic nursery full of baby stars. In the center of this image, a young star 200,000 times brighter than our sun emits ultraviolet radiation.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Even the stars like to blow bubbles. This 2016 image shares Hubble’s view of the Bubble Nebula, where a massive super hot star blows a giant bubble into space. The nebula is 7 light years in diameter.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

The Cone Nebula is a turbulent pillar of gas and dust that forms stars. It’s 7 light years, but this image taken by Hubble in 2002 shows the first 2.5 light years (equivalent to 23 million round trips to the moon). Ultraviolet radiation causes hydrogen gas to emit a strange red glow.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

This is a detailed look at the section of a slowly expanding supernova, or the remains of an exploded star. Hubble took this image in 2015 of the Veil Nebula 2100 light years away. The star was once 20 times as massive as our sun, but only gas trails remain.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

In 2009, major NASA observatories, including Hubble, the Spitzer Space Telescope, and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, combined their powers of observation to create this unprecedented composite image of the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Infrared light and X-rays captured by telescopes can be seen here. Hubble’s contributions are in yellow, Spitzer’s observations are in red, and Chandra’s are in blue and purple.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble also partnered with Spitzer to create this stunning image of the Orion Nebula in 2006. The image combines visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. A community of massive stars is represented by the yellow at the heart of the image.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Hubble captured this view of an expanding halo of light around the V838 Monocerotis star in 2004.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

M83 is a nearby spiral galaxy, and this 2014 Hubble image features its thousands of star clusters and supernova remnants. Young stars can be seen in pink bubbles of hydrogen gas.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

This infrared light image taken by Hubble in 2014 shows the Monkey Head Nebula, where star birth occurs 6,400 light years away from us. Clouds of dust and glowing gases swirl here, representing the ingredients to form stars.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

This ultraviolet light observation of the giant star Eta Carinae was taken by Hubble in 2019. The star is the larger of the two that orbit each other. It is known to have violent explosions, as evidenced by the bubbles here.

31 years of images from the Hubble telescope

Fireworks are even more beautiful in space. Hubble captured this image of a giant 3,000 star cluster in 2015. It’s called Westerlund 2, located 20,000 light years from Earth.


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