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Hubble photographs: A view from above

See smaller This photo supplied by NASA-ESA on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, shows a Hubble Space Telescope image of a dense swarm of stars in the central region of the globular cluster NGC 2808. Astronomers were surprised when Hubble spied three generations of cluster stars. For decades, astronomers thought that cluster stars formed at the same time, in the same place, and from the same material, and have co-evolved for billions of years. Scientists now believe that they can go through several periods of intense stellar formation rather than the previously accepted single burst. Globular clusters are among the earliest settlers of our Milky Way Galaxy, born during our galaxy's formation. The stars were born within 200 million years very early in the life of the 12.5-billion-year-old massive cluster. Clusters are compact swarms of typically hundreds of thousands of stars held together by gravity. Of the about 150 known globular clusters in our Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 2808 is one of the most massive, containing more than 1 million stars.

AP Photo/NASA-ESA

This photo supplied by NASA-ESA on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, shows a Hubble Space Telescope image of a dense swarm of stars in the central region of the globular cluster NGC 2808. Astronomers were surprised when Hubble spied three generations of cluster stars. For decades, astronomers thought that cluster stars formed at the same time, in the same place, and from the same material, and have co-evolved for billions of years. Scientists now believe that they can go through several periods of intense stellar formation rather than the previously accepted single burst. Globular clusters are among the earliest settlers of our Milky Way Galaxy, born during our galaxy's formation. The stars were born within 200 million years very early in the life of the 12.5-billion-year-old massive cluster. Clusters are compact swarms of typically hundreds of thousands of stars held together by gravity. Of the about 150 known globular clusters in our Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 2808 is one of the most massive, containing more than 1 million stars.

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  • The Hubble Space Telescope is seen as the Space Shuttle Columbia, with a crew of seven astronauts on board approached Sunday, March 3, 2002, to latch its robotic arm onto the giant telescope. The main camera on the telescope that has revolutionized astronomy with stunning pictures of the universe has stopped working, an instrument specialist who works with the camera said Saturday, June 24, 2006.
  • This image, taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the newly discovered planet, Fomalhaut b, orbiting its parent star, Fomalhaut. According to scientists this is the first visible light snapshot of a planet circling another star. The small white box at lower right pinpoints the planet's location.  Fomalhaut b has carved a path along the inner edge of a vast, dusty debris ring encircling Fomalhaut that is 34.5 billion kilometers across. The inset at bottom right is a composite image showing the planet's position during Hubble observations taken in 2004 and 2006. Astronomers have calculated that Fomalhaut b completes an orbit around its parent star every 872 years. The white dot in the center of the image marks the star's location.
  • This undated handout photo provided by NASA, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows  a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147. The Hubble Space Telescope is working again, taking stunning cosmic photos after a one-month breakdown. The Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore said the $10 billion telescope is as good as it was before a shutdown in late September. That glitch scotched plans for spacewalking astronauts to upgrade the telescope this month.
  • This image made by the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA Thursday, April 24, 2008 shows NGC 5331, a pair of interacting galaxies beginning to ?hold their arms?. There is a blue trail which appears in the image flowing to the right of the system. NGC 5331 is very bright in the infrared, with about a hundred billion times the luminosity of the Sun. It is located in the constellation Virgo, the Maiden, about 450 million light-years away from Earth. This image is part of a collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released to mark its 18th launch anniversary.
  • This handout photo provided by NASA, taken April 12, 2010 by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows an unusual, ghostly green blob of gas appears to float near a normal-looking spiral galaxy. NASA released Monday the Hubble Space Telescope's first picture of the mysterious giant glowing green blob of gas called Hanny's Voorwerp.  The blob is the size of our Milky Way galaxy and is 650 million light years away. Each light year is about 6 trillion miles. The blob was discovered in 2007 by Dutch school teacher Hanny van Arkel. AP Photo/Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute
  • This image made by the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA Thursday, April 24, 2008  shows Arp 148, the aftermath of an encounter between two galaxies, resulting in a ring-shaped galaxy and a long-tailed companion. The collision between the two parent galaxies produced a shockwave effect that first drew matter into the center and then caused it to propagate outwards in a ring. The elongated companion perpendicular to the ring suggests that Arp 148 is a unique snapshot of an ongoing collision.  Arp 148 is nicknamed ?Mayall?s object? and is located in the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, approximately 500 million light-years away. This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on its 18th launch anniversary.
  • This image provided by NASA Tuesday Oct. 2, 2007 shows a Hubble Space Telescope image of thousands of sparkling young stars nestled within the giant nebula NGC 3603. This stellar 'jewel box' is one of the most massive young star clusters in the Milky Way Galaxy. NGC 3603 is a prominent star-forming region in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way, about 20,000 light-years away. This latest image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows a young star cluster surrounded by a vast region of dust and gas. The image reveals stages in the life cycle of stars.
  • This photo supplied by NASA-ESA on Wednesday, May 2, 2007, shows a Hubble Space Telescope image of a dense swarm of stars in the central region of the globular cluster NGC 2808. Astronomers were surprised when Hubble spied three generations of cluster stars. For decades, astronomers thought that cluster stars formed at the same time, in the same place, and from the same material, and have co-evolved for billions of years. Scientists now believe that they can go through several periods of intense stellar formation rather than the previously accepted single burst. Globular clusters are among the earliest settlers of our Milky Way Galaxy, born during our galaxy's formation. The stars were born within 200 million years very early in the life of the 12.5-billion-year-old massive cluster. Clusters are compact swarms of typically hundreds of thousands of stars held together by gravity. Of the about 150 known globular clusters in our Milky Way Galaxy, NGC 2808 is one of the most massive, containing more than 1 million stars.
  • This photo, taken with  NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's cameras, shows a portion of the Carina Nebula released Tuesday, April 24, 2007, to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the launch and deployment of the Hubble. The image shows a towering 'mountain' of cold hydrogen gas laced with dust which is the site of new star formation. A pencil-like streamer of gas shoots out in both directions from the pillar. The jet is being launched from a newly forming star hidden inside the column. A similar jet appears near the bottom of the image.These stellar jets are a common signature of the birth of a new star. The fireworks in the Carina region started three million years ago when the nebula?s first generation of newborn stars condensed and ignited in the middle of a huge cloud of cold molecular hydrogen.The immense nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina.
  • This photo supplied by NASA/ESA shows one of the largest panoramic images ever taken with NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's cameras of the Carina Nebula, which was released Tuesday April 24, 2007, to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the launch and deployment of the Hubble. The image shows a 50 light-year-wide view of the tumultuous central region of the nebula ,where a maelstrom of star birth ? and death ? is taking place. The photo shows the process of star birth at a new level of detail. The bizarre landscape of the nebula is sculpted by the action of outflowing winds and scorching ultraviolet radiation from the monster stars that inhabit this inferno. These stars are shredding the surrounding material that is the last vestige of the giant cloud from which the stars were born.This immense nebula contains a dozen or more brilliant stars that are estimated to be at least 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun. The immense nebula is an estimated 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina. The fireworks in the region started three million years ago when the nebula?s first generation of newborn stars condensed and ignited in the middle of a huge cloud of cold molecular hydrogen.
  • Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope in Oct. 1997, released Wednesday Jan. 7, 1998 shows the first image of Saturn's ultraviolet aurora when Saturn was 810 million miles from Earth. Saturn's auroral displays are caused by an energenic wind from the Sun that sweeps over the planet, much like the Earth's aurora. But unlike the Earth, Saturn's aurora is only seen in ultraviolet light that is invisible from Earth's surface, hence the aurora can only be observed from space.
  • This image provided by NASA  July 1, 2008 shows a delicate ribbon of gas floats eerily in our galaxy. This image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope is a very thin section of a supernova remnant caused by a stellar explosion that occurred more than 1,000 years ago. The supernova was probably the brightest star ever seen by humans, and surpassed Venus as the brightest object in the night time sky, only to be surpassed by the moon. It was visible even during the day for weeks, and remained visible to the naked eye for at least two and a half years before fading away. This image is a composite of hydrogen-light observations taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in February 2006 and Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 observations in blue, yellow-green, and near-infrared light taken in April 2008. The supernova remnant, visible only in the hydrogen-light filter was assigned a red hue in the Heritage color image.
  • This image provided by the Hubble Space Telescope shows the striking details of the famed planetary nebula designated NGC 2818, which lies in the southern constellation of Pyxis (the Compass). The spectacular structure of the planetary nebula contains the outer layers of a star that were expelled into interstellar space. The glowing gaseous shrouds in the nebula were shed by the central star after it ran out of fuel to sustain the nuclear reactions in its core. NGC 2818 is often heralded as one of the Galaxy?s few planetary nebulae to be discovered as a member of an open star cluster.
  • This undated photo supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency shows the Hubble Space Telescope's latest image of the star V838 Monocerotis, located about 20,000 light-years away on the outer edge of the Milky Way,  which 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. The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a pulse of light three years ago, somewhat similar to setting off a flashbulb in a darkened room. The dust surrounding V838 may have been ejected from the star during a previous explosion, similar to the 2002 event. The echoing of light through space is similar to the echoing of sound through air. As light from the stellar explosion continues to propagate outwards, different parts of the surrounding dust are illuminated, just as a sound echo bounces off of objects near the source, and later, objects further from the source. Eventually, when light from the back side of the nebula begins to arrive, the light echo will give the illusion of contracting, and finally it will disappear.  AP Photo/NASA-ESA Hubble Team
  • This photo, released by NASA and the European Space Agency to commemorate the  Hubble Space Telescope completing its 100,000th orbit around the Earth in its 18th year of exploration and discovery, scientists have aimed Hubble to take a snapshot of a dazzling region of celestial birth and renewal. Hubble peered into a small portion of the nebula near the star cluster NGC 2074, top, on  Sunday,Aug.10, 2008. The region is a firestorm of raw stellar creation, perhaps triggered by a nearby supernova explosion. It lies about 170 000 light-years away near the Tarantula nebula, one of the most active star-forming regions in our local group of galaxies. In this representative color image, red shows emission from sulphur atoms, green from glowing hydrogen, and blue from glowing oxygen.
  • This image made by the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA Thursday, April 24, 2008 , shows a Hubble view of IC 1623, an interacting galaxy system that is very bright when observed in the infrared. One of the two galaxies, the infrared-bright, but optically obscured galaxy VV 114E, has a substantial amount of warm and dense gas. Warm and dense gas is also found in the overlap region connecting the two nuclei. Observations further support the notion that IC 1623 is approaching the final stage of its merger, when a violent central inflow of gas will trigger intense starburst activity that could boost the infrared luminosity above the ultraluminous threshold. IC 1623 is located about 300 million light-years away from Earth. This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on  its 18th launch anniversary on  April 24, 2008.
  • This image made by the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA Thursday, April 24, 2008 , shows a Hubble view of Arp 272, a remarkable collision between two spiral galaxies, NGC 6050 and IC 1179, and is part of the Hercules Galaxy Cluster, located in the constellation of Hercules. The galaxy cluster is part of the Great Wall of clusters and superclusters, the largest known structure in the Universe. The two spiral galaxies are linked by their swirling arms. Arp 272 is located some 450 million light-years away from EarthThis image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on  its 18th launch anniversary.
  • This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope shows ring system around the distant planet Uranus a more oblique (shallower) tilt as viewed from Earth in this image taken with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on August 14, 2007. The edge-on rings appear as two spikes above and below the planet. The rings cannot be seen running fully across the face of the planet because the bright glare of the planet has been blocked out in the Hubble photo (a small amount of residual glare appears as a fan- shaped image artifact). A much shorter color exposure of the planet has been photo- composited to show its size and position relative to the ring plane. Earthbound astronomers only see the rings' edge every 42 years as the planet follows a leisurely 84-year orbit about the Sun. However, the last time the rings were tilted edge-on to Earth astronomers didn't even know they existed.
  • This image made by the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA Thursday, April 24, 2008 , shows a Hubble view of Arp 81 is a strongly interacting pair of galaxies, seen about 100 million years after their closest approach. It consists of NGC 6621, to the left, and NGC 6622, to the right. NGC 6621 is the larger of the two, and is a very disturbed spiral galaxy. The encounter has pulled a long tail out of NGC 6621 that has now wrapped behind its body. The collision has also triggered extensive star formation between the two galaxies. Scientists believe that Arp 81 has a richer collection of young massive star clusters than the notable Antennae galaxies, which are much closer than Arp 81. The pair is located in the constellation of Draco, approximately 300 million light-years away from Earth. This image is part of a large collection of 59 images of merging galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released on  its 18th launch anniversary on  April 24, 2008.
  • This picture of the galaxy UGC 10214 was taken April 1 and 9, 2002, by the Advanced Camera for Surveys, which was installed aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope during Servicing Mission 3B. Dubbed the 'Tadpole,' this spiral galaxy is unlike the textbook images of stately galaxies. Its distorted shape was caused by a small interloper, a very blue, compact galaxy visible in the upper left corner of the more massive. Tadpole. The Tadpole resides about 420 million light-years away in the constellation Draco.
  • Resembling a nightmarish beast rearing its head from a crimson sea, this monstrous object is actually an innocuous pillar of gas and dust. Called the Cone Nebula (NGC 2264) because in ground-based images it has a conical shape, this giant pillar resides in a turbulent star-forming region. This picture, taken April 2, 2002, by the newly installed Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) aboard NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, shows the upper 2.5 light-years of the nebula, a height that equals 23 million roundtrips to the Moon. The entire nebula is 7 light-years long. The Cone Nebula resides 2,500 light-years away in the constellation Monoceros.
  • In this image provided by NASA Thursday Dec. 18, 2008 the Hubble Space Telescope has caught Jupiter's moon Ganymede playing a game of 'peek-a-boo.' In this crisp Hubble image, Ganymede is shown just before it ducks behind the giant planet. Ganymede completes an orbit around Jupiter every seven days. Because Ganymede's orbit is tilted nearly edge-on to Earth, it routinely can be seen passing in front of and disappearing behind its giant host, only to reemerge later. Composed of rock and ice, Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system. It is even larger than the planet Mercury. But Ganymede looks like a dirty snowball next to Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. This color photo was made from three images taken on April 9, 2007.
  • This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Thursday Aug. 31, 2006 is a never-before-seen astronomical alignment of a moon traversing the face of Uranus, and its accompanying shadow. To an observer on Uranus, this would appear as a solar eclipse, where the moon briefly blocks out the Sun as its shadow races across Uranus's cloud tops.The white dot near the center of Uranus' blue-green disk is the icy moon Ariel. The 700-mile-diameter satellite is casting a shadow onto the cloud tops of Uranus. Though such 'transits' by moons across the disks of their parents are commonplace for some other gas giant planets, such as Jupiter, the satellites of Uranus orbit the planet in such a way that they rarely cast shadows on the planet's surface according to scientists. The moons of Uranus orbit the planet above the equator, so their paths align edge-on to the Sun only every 42 years. The last time a Uranian equinox occurred, when transits could have been observed, was in 1965.
  • In this image provided by NASA Thursday Oct. 2, 2008 shows landscape' image from the cosmos to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope's Hubble Heritage Project. Cutting across a nearby star-forming region, called NGC 3324, are the 'hills and valleys' of gas and dust displayed in intricate detail. Set amid a backdrop of soft, glowing blue light are wispy tendrils of gas as well as dark trunks of dust that are light-years in height. NGC 3324 is located in the constellation Carina, about 7,200 light-years away from Earth. The abrupt, mysterious failure of the command and data-handling system for Hubble's science instruments Saturday Sept. 28, 2008 means that the telescope is unable to capture and beam down the data needed to produce its stunning deep space images.
  • This swirling landscape of stars is known as the North American nebula. In visible light, the region resembles North America, but in this new infrared view from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, the continent disappears.
  • In this image provided by NASA Tuesday Sept. 13, 2005 the Hubble Space Telescope 'caught' the Boomerang Nebula in these new images taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys. This reflecting cloud of dust and gas has two nearly symmetric lobes (or cones) of matter that are being ejected from a central star. Over the last 1,500 years, nearly one and a half times the mass of our Sun has been lost by the central star of the Boomerang Nebula in an ejection process known as a bipolar outflow. The nebula's name is derived from its symmetric structure as seen from ground-based telescopes. Hubble's sharp view is able to resolve patterns and ripples in the nebula very close to the central star that are not visible from the ground.
  • 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.
  • This photo, supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA), shows the Antennae galaxies in the sharpest image yet of this merging pair of galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and released Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2006. As the two galaxies smash together, billions of stars are born, mostly in groups and clusters of stars. The brightest and most compact of these are called super star clusters. The two spiral galaxies started to fuse together about 500 million years ago making the Antenna galaxies the nearest and youngest example of a pair of colliding galaxies. Nearly half of the faint objects in the Antennae are young clusters containing tens of thousands of stars.
  • This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Tuesday Oct. 16, 2007 shows the galaxy Zwicky 18. NASAs Hubble Space Telescope has found the galaxy is the equivalent of the painting of Dorian Gray, a portrait in an Oscar Wilde novel that appears mysteriously to age. Like the fictional painting, the galaxy I Zwicky 18 appears to look older the more astronomers study it. New Hubble data have quashed that possibility. The telescope found faint older stars contained within the galaxy, suggesting its star formation started at least one billion years ago and possibly as much as 10 billion years ago. The galaxy, therefore, may have formed at the same time as most other galaxies. Although the galaxy is not as youthful as was once believed, it is certainly developmentally challenged and unique in the nearby universe, said astronomer Alessandra Aloisi from the Space Telescope Science Institute and the European Space Agency in Baltimore, Md., who led the new study.
  • An aging star's last hurrah is creating a flurry of glowing knots of gas that appear to be streaking through space in this close-up image of the Dumbbell Nebula, taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope which was released Tuesday Feb. 10, 2003. The Dumbbell, a nearby planetary nebula residing more than 1,200 light-years away, is the result of an old star that has shed its outer layers in a glowing display of color. The Hubble images of the Dumbbell show many knots, but their shapes vary. Some look likefingers pointing at the central star, located just off the upper left of the image; others are isolated clouds, with or without tails. Their sizes typically range from 11 - 35 billion miles (17 - 56 billion kilometers), which is several times larger than the distance from the Sun to Pluto. Each contains as much mass as three Earths. This image, created by the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI), was taken by Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2. The filters used to create this color image show oxygen in blue, hydrogen in green and a combination of sulfur and nitrogen emission in red.
  • This image taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and released Thursday Nov. 20, 2008 showcases the brilliant core of NGC 1569 one of the most active star making galaxies in our local neighborhood. The entire core is 5,000 light-years wide. According to scientists a new analysis of NGC 1569 shows that it is one and a half times farther from Earth than astronomers previously thought. The extra distance places the galaxy in the middle of a group of about 10 galaxies centered on the spiral galaxy IC 342. Gravitational interactions among the group's galaxies may be compressing gas in NGC 1569 and igniting the star-birthing frenzy.
  • This photo, released by NASA-ESA on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008, show the Hubble Space Telescope view of the NCG 3077 gallaxy. The dark clumps of material scattered around the bright nucleus  are pieces of wreckage from the galaxy's interactions with its larger neighbors. NGC 3077 is a member of the M81 group of galaxies and it resides 12.5 million light-years from Earth.  The photo was taken during a detailed survey of nearby galaxies which observed around 14 million stars in 69 galaxies. Some galaxies were found to be full of ancient stars, while others are like sun-making factories. The ancient stars are the fossil equivalents of new stars forming in the far Universe.
  • This photo, released by NASA-ESA on Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2008, shows part of NGC 253  one of brightest spiral galaxies in the night sky, easily visible with small telescopes, which  is composed of thousands of young, blue stars. It is undergoing intense star formation. The image demonstrates the sharp 'eye' of Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys, which is able to show individual stars. The dark filaments are clouds of dust and gas. NGC 253 is the dominant galaxy in the Sculptor Group of galaxies and it resides about 13 million light-years from Earth. The photo was taken during a detailed survey of nearby galaxies which observed around 14 million stars in 69 galaxies. Some galaxies were found to be full of ancient stars, while others are like sun-making factories. The ancient stars are the fossil equivalents of new stars forming in the far Universe.
  • This photo, released by NASA/ESA on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2007, shows Arp 87, a  pair of interacting galaxies. In this view from the Hubble Telescope, stars, gas, and dust flow from the large spiral galaxy, NGC 3808, form an enveloping arm around its companion. The shapes of both galaxies have been distorted by their gravitational interaction. Arp 87 is located in the constellation of Leo, the Lion, approximately 300 million light-years away from Earth, and appears in Arp?s Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies. As also seen in similar interacting galaxies, the corkscrew shape of the tidal material suggests that some stars and gas drawn from the larger galaxy have been caught in the gravitational pull of the smaller one.
  • This image, supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2006, shows the Spiderweb Galaxy sitting at the center of an emergent galaxy cluster, surrounded by hundreds of other galaxies from the cluster.The image provides a dramatic glimpse of a large massive galaxy under assembly as smaller galaxies merge. This has commonly been thought to be the way galaxies grew in the young Universe, but now the Hubble observations of the radio galaxy MRC 1138-262, nicknamed the Spiderweb Galaxy, have shown dozens of star-forming satellite galaxies in the actual process of merging.  The image is a composite of many separate exposures made by the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • In this image provided by NASA Wednesday Feb. 22, 2006 Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have confirmed the presence of two new moons around the distant planet Pluto. The moons were first discovered by Hubble in May 2005, but the Pluto Companion Search team probed even deeper into the Pluto system with Hubble on Feb. 15 to look for additional satellites and to characterize the orbits of the moons. In the image, Pluto is in the center and Charon is just below it. The moons, provisionally designated S/2005 P 1 and S/2005 P 2, are located to the right of Pluto and Charon.
  • This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Thursday April 27, 2006. The telescope is providing astronomers with extraordinary views of comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 as it disintegrates before our eyes. Recent Hubble images have uncovered many more fragments than have been reported by ground-based observers. This is the second image from a three-day observation with Hubble showing the breakup of Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3s Fragment B.
  • This photo supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2006, offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. The image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, represents the sharpest view ever taken of this region, called the Orion Nebula. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. The bright central region is the home of the four heftiest stars in the nebula.The bright glow at upper left is from M43, a small region being shaped by a massive, young star's ultraviolet light. Astronomers call the region a miniature Orion Nebula. The glowing region on the right reveals arcs and bubbles formed when stellar winds -- streams of charged particles ejected from the four hefty stars -- collide with material. The faint red stars near the bottom are the myriad brown dwarfs that Hubble spied for the first time in the nebula in visible light. The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years away, the nearest star-forming region to Earth. Astronomers used 520 Hubble images and some ground-based photos --to fill in the blanks -- to make this picture.
  • During the 15 years that the NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) Hubble Space Telescope has orbited the Earth, it has taken three-quarters of a million photos of the cosmos - images that have awed, astounded and even confounded astronomers and the public alike. On Monday April 25, 2005, NASA and ESA released new views of two of the most well-known images Hubble has ever taken: the Eagle Nebula, and spiral galaxy M51, known as the Whirlpool Galaxy. The images,  among the largest and sharpest views Hubble has ever taken, were made with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The two new images are so incredibly sharp they could be enlarged to billboard size and still retain all of their stunning details. Scientists used the newer ACS camera to revisit one region of the eerie-looking Eagle Nebula, producing a new image with stunning detail. The image reveals a tall, dense tower of gas being sculpted by ultraviolet light from a group of massive, hot stars. The new Whirlpool Galaxy image showcases the spiral galaxy's classic features, from its curving arms, where newborn stars reside, to its yellowish central core that serves as home for older stars.  The soaring tower is 9.5 light-years or about 90 trillion kilometers high, about twice the distance from our Sun to the next nearest star. A torrent of ultraviolet light from a band of massive, hot, young stars [near the top] is eroding the pillar. The dominant colors in the image were produced by gas energized by the star cluster's powerful ultraviolet light. The blue color at the top is from glowing oxygen. The red color in the lower region is from glowing hydrogen. The Eagle Nebula image was taken in November 2004 .
  • This image provided by NASA shows the Great Red Spot and Red Spot Jr. ? in the turbulent Jovian atmosphere. This third red spot, which is a fraction of the size of the two other features, lies to the west of the Great Red Spot in the same latitude band of clouds. The visible-light images were taken on May 9 and 10 with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. The new red spot was previously a white oval-shaped storm. The change to a red color indicates its swirling storm clouds are rising to heights like the clouds of the Great Red Spot. One possible explanation is that the red storm is so powerful it dredges material from deep beneath Jupiter's cloud tops and lifts it to higher altitudes where solar ultraviolet radiation ? via some unknown chemical reaction ? produces the familiar brick color.
  • New detailed images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope release Friday Dec. 20, 2002 show a  'late-blooming' galaxy, a small, distorted system of gas and stars that still appears to be in the process of development, even though most of  its galactic cousins are believed to have started forming billions of  years ago. Evidence of the galaxy's youthfulness can be seen in the  burst of newborn stars and its disturbed shape. This evidence indicates that the galaxy, called POX186, formed when two smaller clumps of gas  and stars collided less than 100 million years ago (a relatively recent event in the universe's 13-billion-year history), triggering more star  formation. Most large galaxies, such as our Milky Way, are thought to  have formed the bulk of their stars billions of years ago.
  • In an image that scientists call the sharpest image ever made from Earth, the planet Mars is seen as a dynamic planet covered by frosty white water ice clouds and swirling orange dust storms above a vivid rusty landscape, in this view made by the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope on June 26, 2001. Details as small as 10 miles (16 km) across can be seen. The colors have been balanced to give a realistic view of Mars' hues as they might appear through a telescope. Scientists are especially interestedin the large amount of seasonal dust storm activity seen. One large storm system is churning high above the northern polar cap, top left center, with another large dust storm spilling out of the giant Hellas impact basin in Mars' Southern Hemisphere at lower right.
  • The majestic dusty spiral, NGC3370, looms in the foreground in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image released Sat. Sept. 6, 2003. Recent observations taken with th Advanced Camera for Surveys show intricate spiral arm structure spotted with hot areas of new star formation. But this galaxy is more than just a pretty face. Nearly 10 years earlier NGC 3370, in the constellation Leo, hosted a bright exploding star In November 1994, the light of a supernova in nearby NGC3370 reached Earth. The total exposure time for this galaxy is extremely long (about one full day), and the combined image provides one of the deepest views taken by Hubble. As a result, thousands of distant galaxies in the background are easily discernable.
  • Resembling a diamond-encrusted bracelet, a ring of brilliant blue star clusters wraps around the yellowish nucleus of what was once a normal spiral galaxy in this new image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope (HST) released Saturday April 24, 2004. This image is being released to commemorate the 14th anniversary of Hubble's launch on April 24, 1990 and its deployment from the space shuttle Discovery on April 25, 1990. The galaxy, cataloged as AM 0644-741, is a member of the class of so-called 'ring galaxies.' It lies 300 million light-years away in the direction of the southern constellation Dorado.
  • This image provided by NASA Monday May 28, 2007 shows the sharpest image ever taken of the large 'grand design' spiral galaxy M81. This beautiful galaxy is tilted at an oblique angle on to our line of sight, giving a 'birds-eye view' of the spiral structure. The galaxy is similar to our Milky Way, but our favorable view provides a better picture of the typical architecture of spiral galaxies. Though the galaxy is 11.6 million light-years away, NASA Hubble Space Telescope's view is so sharp that it can resolve individual stars, along with open star clusters, globular star clusters, and even glowing regions of fluorescent gas.
  • This photo supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency Tuesday, April 3, 2007, is a Hubble Space Telescope view of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672, showing up clusters of hot young blue stars along its spiral arms, and clouds of hydrogen gas glowing in red. Delicate curtains of dust partially obscure and redden the light of the stars behind them. NGC 1672?s symmetric look is emphasized by the four principal arms, edged by eye-catching dust lanes that extend out from the center. The galaxy, visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is seen almost face on and shows regions of intense star formation. The greatest concentrations of star formation are found in the so-called starburst regions near the ends of the galaxy?s strong galactic bar.
  • This photo supplied by NASA-ESA on Tuesday, May 15,2007, shows a ring of what NASA says is dark matter, which measures 2.6 million light-years across, which was found in the cluster ZwCl0024+1652, located 5 billion light-years from Earth. An international team of astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope has discovered the ghostly ring of dark matter that was formed long ago during a titanic collision between two massive galaxy clusters.  It is the first time that a dark matter distribution has been found that differs substantially from the distribution of ordinary matter. Astronomers have long suspected the existence of the invisible substance of dark matter as the source of additional gravity that holds galaxy clusters  together. Although astronomers don't know what dark matter is made of, they hypothesize that it is a type of elementary particle that pervades the Universe.
  • Comet Hyakutake is displayed in all its glory in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope taken at 8:30 p.m.. EST Monday, March 25, 1996. The Hubble photos show the comet and its surrounding debris in a false color red  created by filters and processing to help experts  study the images. astronomer Harold Weaver says there is so much dust erupting that it will take weeks of  studying the photos to determine exactly what is shown.
  • This image provided by NASA Thursday March 1, 2007 taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took this true-color view of Jupiter in support of the New Horizons Mission on February 17, 2007, using the planetary camera detector. Jupiter's trademark belts and zones of high- and low-pressure regions appear in crisp detail. Circular convection cells can be seen at high northern and southern latitudes. Atmospheric features as small as 250 miles (400 km) across can be discerned.
  • A violent and chaotic-looking mass of gas and dust is seen in this Hubble Space Telescope image of a relatively nearby supernova remnant released Tuesday, June 7, 2005, NASA and the European Space Agency. Denoted N 63A, the object is the remains of a massive star that exploded, spewing its gaseous layers out into an already turbulent region. The area is a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud visible from the southern hemisphere and  lying 160,000 light-years from our own Milky Way galaxy. The image is from data gathered in 1997 and 2000 with Hubbles Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
  • Nearly 10,000 galaxies are seen in this composite image made with the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA on Tuesday, March 9, 2004.  This is the deepest look, named the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, into the visible universe ever; revealing a wide range of galaxies in various shapes, sizes and ages.
  • This photo provided by NASA's Hubble Heritage team Tuesday Feb. 7, 2006 shows a dramatic spiral galaxy, one of the latest viewed by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Stunning details of the face-on spiral galaxy, cataloged as NGC 1309, are captured in this color image. NGC 1309 was home to supernova SN 2002fk, whose light reached Earth in September 2002. NGC 1309 resides 100 million light-years (30 Megaparsecs) from Earth. It is one of about 200 galaxies that make up the Eridanus group of galaxies.
  • In this image released by NASA Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2005 astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have uncovered for the first time a population of embryonic stars in the Small Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy of our Milky Way. Hubble's exquisite sharpness plucked out an underlying population of embryonic stars embedded in the nebula NGC 346 that are still forming from gravitationally collapsing gas clouds. They have not yet ignited their hydrogen fuel to sustain nuclear fusion. The smallest of these infant stars is only half the mass of our Sun.
  • This image taken by NASA's Hubble Space telescope, and released Thursday Aug. 12, 2004, shows nebula N44F, which, at left, is being inflated by a stellar wind, creating an interstellar bubble. Trying to save the famed Hubble Space Telescope with a robot would cost $2 billion with just a 50-50 chance of success, an aerospace research group is advising NASA in the coming days.
  • The Hubble Space Telescope has returned this picture of these wraithlike formations 450 light years away and is on a search for more. These gigantic, tadpole-shaped objects are probably the result of a dying star's last gasps. Dubbed ''cometary knots'' because their glowing heads and gossamer tails resemble comets.   AP Photo/NASA/Rice University, C. Robert O'Dell and Kerry P. Handron
  • This image was taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys in October 2005 and provided April 4, 2006. NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has photographed dense knots of dust and gas in our Milky Way Galaxy. This cosmic dust is a concentration of elements that are responsible for the formation of stars in our galaxy and throughout the universe. These dark, opaque knots of gas and dust are called 'Bok globules,' and they are absorbing light in the center of the nearby emission nebula and star-forming region, NGC 281. NGC 281 is located nearly 9,500 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Cassiopeia.
  • This photo from the Hubble Space Telescope, supplied by NASA and the European Space Agency on Monday Dec. 11, 2006, shows part of the constellation Scorpius centered on the large emission nebula NGC 6357 which has star cluster Pismis 24 in its center. Astronomers have reported this month that a star in the Pismis 24 cluster, which had been thought to be one of the heaviest stars in the Milky Way, is actually two stars and possible three.  This image is a color composite taken by the Digitized Sky Survey.

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