Astronomy

Hubble telescope spots a 'space invader'

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.

space-invader.JPG

The universe is eerie enough without giving us an apparition of a 1980s video game alien attacker. This oddball-looking object is really a mirage created by the gravitational field of a foreground cluster of galaxies warping space and distorting the background images of more distant galaxies.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage/ESA-Hubble Collaboration

space-invader-hubble.JPG

Mar. 5, 2013: In this photo, the image of a spiral galaxy at upper left has been stretched and mirrored into a shape similar to that of a simulated alien from the classic 1970s computer game Space Invaders! A second, less distorted image of the same galaxy appears to the left of the large, bright elliptical galaxy.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage/ESA-Hubble Collaboration

spiral-galaxy-hubble.JPG

Feb. 5, 2013: Working with astronomical image processors at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md., renowned astrophotographer Robert Gendler has taken science data from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) archive and combined it with his own ground-based observations to assemble a photo illustration of the magnificent spiral galaxy M106.
NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and R. Gendler (for the Hubble Heritage Team)

dark-matter-core.JPG

March 2, 2012: This composite image shows the distribution of dark matter, galaxies, and hot gas in the core of the merging galaxy cluster Abell 520, formed from a violent collision of massive galaxy clusters.
NASA, ESA, CFHT, CXO, M.J. Jee (University of California, Davis), and A. Mahdavi (San Francisco State University)

cosmic-collision.JPG

June 14, 2012: NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a rare view of a pair of overlapping galaxies, called NGC 3314. The two galaxies look as if they are colliding, but they are actually separated by tens of millions of light-years, or about ten times the distance between our Milky Way and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy. The chance alignment of the two galaxies, as seen from Earth, gives a unique look at the silhouetted spiral arms in the closer face-on spiral, NGC 3314A.
NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and W. Keel (University of Alabama)

monster-galaxy.JPG

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.

NASA, ESA, M. Postman (STScI), T. Lauer (NOAO), and the CLASH team

odd-galaxy-couple.JPG

Sept. 6, 2012: Two very different galaxies drift through space together in this image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The peculiar galaxy pair is called Arp 116.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

magnified-galaxy.JPG

Feb. 2, 2012: Thanks to the presence of a natural "zoom lens" in space, this is a close-up look at the brightest distant "magnified" galaxy in the universe known to date. It is one of the most striking examples of gravitational lensing, where the gravitational field of a foreground galaxy bends and amplifies the light of a more distant background galaxy. In this image the light from a distant galaxy, nearly 10 billion light-years away, has been warped into a nearly 90-degree arc of light in the galaxy cluster RCS2 032727-132623. The galaxy cluster lies 5 billion light-years away. The background galaxy's image is over three times brighter than typically lensed galaxies. The natural-color image was taken in March 2011 with the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3.
NASA, ESA, J. Rigby (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), K. Sharon (Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chica

star-making.JPG

April 17, 2012: Several million young stars are vying for attention in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of a raucous stellar breeding ground in 30 Doradus, located in the heart of the Tarantula Nebula. Early astronomers nicknamed the nebula because its glowing filaments resemble spider legs.
NASA, ESA, D. Lennon and E. Sabbi (ESA/STScI), J. Anderson, S. E. de Mink, R. van der Marel, T. Sohn, and N. Walborn (STScI), N.

cosmic-skyrocket.JPG

July 3, 2012: Resembling a Fourth of July skyrocket, Herbig-Haro 110 is a geyser of hot gas from a newborn star that splashes up against and ricochets off the dense core of a cloud of molecular hydrogen. Although the plumes of gas look like whiffs of smoke, they are actually billions of times less dense than the smoke from a July 4 firework. This Hubble Space Telescope photo shows the integrated light from plumes, which are light-years across.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

moon-mirror.JPG

May 4, 2012: This mottled landscape showing the impact crater Tycho is among the most violent-looking places on our Moon. Astronomers didn't aim NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to study Tycho, however. The image was taken in preparation to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun's face on June 5-6.
NASA, ESA, and D. Ehrenreich (Institut de Planétologie et dAstrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG)/CNRS/Université Joseph Fourier)

farthest-ever.JPG

Sept. 25, 2012: Like photographers assembling a portfolio of best shots, astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of mankind's deepest-ever view of the universe.
NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch (University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), and th

A Sprial Galaxy

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.

NASA/ESA/Space Science Institute

Spectacular Space Bubble

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. 

NASA/ESA

Brown Dwarf's Best Friend

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? 

Gemini Observatory, courtesy of L. Cook

Journey Through the Orion

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.

NASA, G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (STScI/AURA)

Cat's Eye Nebula

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.

J. P. Harrington (U. Maryland) & K. J. Borkowski (NCSU) HST, NASA

The Rings of Saturn

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. 

NASA, ESA, and Jonathan Nichols (University of Leicester)

Galaxy Cluster MACS J0717

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. 

NASA

Galaxy Cluster MS 0735

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.

NASA

Galaxy NGC 1512

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.

NASA

Helix Nebula

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.

NASA

Host Galaxy of Gamma Ray Burst

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.

NASA

Infrared Image of M82

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.

NASA

Orion Nebula

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.

NASA

Planetary Nebula

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.

NASA

Quasar PG1115

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.

NASA

Star V838 Monocerotis

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.

NASA

Black Hole in Galaxy M87

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.

NASA

Celestial Havoc Crab Nebula

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.

NASA

Circinus Galaxy

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.

NASA

Cosmic Pearls

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.

NASA

Crab Nebula

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.

NASA

Cygnus Loop Supernova

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.

NASA

Dark Matter Ring in Galaxy Cluster

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.

NASA

Fading Fireball

Fading fireball from a powerful cosmic explosion -- gamma ray burst 990123.

NASA

Galaxy Cluster 1E 0657-556

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.

NASA

Red (or Green?) Giant

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.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

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.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

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.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

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.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

A pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 147 was captured by Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. One of the galaxies (left-most galaxy shown) is relatively undisturbed, apart from a smooth ring of starlight. The other galaxy (right-most in image) exhibits a clumpy, blue ring of intense star formation.
NASA, ESA and M. Livio (STScI)

Hubble's Greatest Hits

Spiral galaxy M81 as seen from NASA Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

The Carina Nebula as seen by NASA and ESA's Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

The bright optical center of the galaxy system NGC 1614, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2008.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

The Veil Nebula, the remains of a supernova, seen by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2007.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

Another supernova remnant seen by the Hubble Space Telescope, this one in 2005.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

The Sombrero galaxy, photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

Pillars of cool gas and dust seen by the NASA Hubble Space Telescope in 2005.

NASA

Hubble's Greatest Hits

The Hubble Space Telescope seen from the approaching Shuttle Columbia in March 2002.

NASA

Hubble telescope spots a 'space invader'

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.

More From Our Sponsors