Oct. 25, 2012: The giant elliptical galaxy in the center of this image is the most massive and brightest member of the galaxy cluster Abell 2261.
A long-exposure Hubble Space Telescope image shows a majestic face-on spiral galaxy located deep within the Coma Cluster of galaxies, which lies 320 million light-years away in the northern constellation Coma Berenices. The galaxy, known as NGC 4911, contains rich lanes of dust and gas near its center.
June 22: This new photograph from the Hubble Space scope reveals a dazzling look at the N11 region of the Large Magellanic Cloud — a satellite galaxy near the Milky Way. This energetic star-forming region is the second largest known to date, and one of the most active in our galactic neighbor.
April 6: Hubble has discovered a planet-like object circling a brown dwarf, seen in this artist's conception. It's the right size for a planet, estimated to be 5-10 times the mass of Jupiter. This new observation addresses the question: How small can an object be and still be a brown dwarf rather than a planet? This new companion is within the range of masses observed for planets around stars — less than 15 Jupiter masses. But should it be called a planet?
March 19: Take an exhilarating ride through the Orion Nebula, a virtual space journey that isn't the latest video game but one of several groundbreaking astronomy visualizations created by specialists at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, the science operations center for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
Three thousand light-years away, a dying star throws off shells of glowing gas in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope of the Cat's Eye Nebula.
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took advantage of a rare opportunity to record Saturn when its rings were edge-on, resulting in a unique movie featuring the nearly symmetrical light show at both of the giant planet's poles.
It takes Saturn almost thirty years to orbit the Sun, with the opportunity to image both of its poles occurring only twice during that time.
Located about 5.4 billion light-years from Earth, the MACS J0717.5+3745 (or MACS J0717, for short), is the most crowded collision of galaxy clusters.
The cluster gives scientists a chance to learn what happens when some of the largest objects in the universe go at each other in a cosmic free-for-all.
This is a composite image of galaxy cluster MS0735.6+7421, located about 2.6 billion light-years away in the constellation Camelopardalis. The image represents three views of the region that astronomers have combined into one photograph.
In this view of the center of the magnificent barred spiral galaxy NGC 1512, the Hubble telescope reveals a stunning 2,400 light-year-wide circle of infant star clusters.
Astronomers generally believe that the giant bar, which is too faint to be seen in this image, funnels the gas to the inner ring, where massive stars are formed within numerous star clusters. Located 30 million light-years away, NGC 1512 is a neighbor of our Milky Way galaxy.
This photograph of the coil-shaped Helix Nebula is one of the largest and most detailed celestial images ever made. The image shows a fine web of filamentary "bicycle-spoke" features embedded in the colorful red and blue ring of gas.
At 650 light-years away, the Helix is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth. A planetary nebula is the glowing gas around a dying, sun-like star.
Nature's most powerful explosions, gamma-ray bursts, occur among the normal stellar population inside galaxies scattered across the universe. The energy released in such a titanic explosion, which can last from a fraction of a second to a few hundred seconds, is equal to all of the sun's energy generated over its 10-billion-year lifetime.
A composite graphic of multi-wavelength images of the active galaxy M82 from the three Great Observatories: Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-Ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space Telescope.
In one of the most detailed astronomical images ever produced, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captured an unprecedented look at the Orion Nebula. This turbulent star formation region is one of astronomy's most photogenic celestrial objects.
NGC 7009 has a bright central star at the center of a dark cavity bounded by a football-shaped rim of dense, blue and red gas. The cavity and its rim are trapped inside smoothly-distributed greenish material in the shape of a barrel and comprised of the star's former outer layers.
At larger distances, and lying along the long axis of the nebula, a pair of red "ansae", or "handles" appears. Each ansa is joined to the tips of the cavity by a long greenish jet of material. The handles are clouds of low-density gas.
Astronomers who are using the Hubble telescope to observe the gravitational lensing of light from distant quasars have discovered new evidence about the rate at which the universe is expanding.
The Hubble Space Telescope's latest image of the star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect, called a light echo, has been unveiling never-before-seen dust patterns ever since the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002.
Astronomers using the Hubble telescope have found seemingly conclusive evidence for a massive black hole in the center of the giant elliptical galaxy M87, located 50 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo. Earlier observations suggested that the black hole was present, but they were not decisive.
This composite image of the Crab Nebula uses data from three of NASA's Great Observatories. The Chandra X-ray image is shown in light blue, the Hubble Space Telescope optical images are in green and dark blue, and the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared image is in red.
The Hubble telescope has taken a snapshot of a nearby active galaxy known as Circinus. This active galaxy belongs to a class of mostly spiral galaxies called Seyferts, which have compact centers and are believed to contain massive black holes.
Two decades ago, astronomers spotted one of the brightest exploding stars in more than 400 years. Since that first sighting, the doomed star, called Supernova 1987A, has continued to fascinate astronomers with its spectacular light show. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is one of many observatories that has been monitoring the blast's aftermath.
The Crab Nebula is a six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star's supernova explosion. Japanese and Chinese astronomers recorded this violent event nearly 1,000 years ago.
The Cygnus Loop marks the edge of a bubble-like, expanding blast wave from a colossal stellar explosion which occurred about 15,000 years ago.
This Hubble Space Telescope composite image shows a ghostly "ring" of dark matter in the galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17.
The ring is one of the strongest pieces of evidence to date for the existence of dark matter, an unknown substance that pervades the universe.
Fading fireball from a powerful cosmic explosion -- gamma ray burst 990123.
This composite image shows the galaxy cluster 1E 0657-556, also known as the "bullet cluster." This cluster was formed after the collision of two large clusters of galaxies, the most energetic event known in the universe since the Big Bang.
The planetary nebula Kohoutek 4-55 is one of a series of named after their discoverer, Czech astronomer Lubos Kohoutek. A planetary nebula contains the outer layers of a red giant star that were expelled into interstellar space when the star was in the late stages of its life. Ultraviolet radiation emitted from the remaining hot core of the star ionizes the ejected gas shells, causing them to glow.
This 2008 image from the Hubble Space Telescope, provided by NASA, shows a remnant from a supernova or star explosion, which looks like a giant ribbon.
This 2006 composite image shows thousands of stars forming in the cloud of gas and dust known as the Orion nebula, as viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image assembled from 100 different images sent back by the Hubble Space Telescope. The original Hubble pictures are black and white photos, which are then carefully colorized.
This Feb. 19, 1997 file photo shows the Hubble Space Telescope following its release from the space shuttle Discovery after astronauts made five spacewalks to install two $100-million-plus science instruments and new electronics and data recorders. They also placed homemade patches over tears and cracks discovered in Hubble's insulation.
Spiral galaxy M81 as seen from NASA Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.
The Carina Nebula as seen by NASA and ESA's Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.
The bright optical center of the galaxy system NGC 1614, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2008.
The Veil Nebula, the remains of a supernova, seen by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.
Another supernova remnant seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, this one in 2005.
The Sombrero galaxy, photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005.
Pillars of cool gas and dust seen by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope in 2005.
The Hubble Space Telescope seen from the approaching Shuttle Columbia in March 2002.
For over 20 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has explored our universe 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, supplying heavenly images of the universe.