Hubble Space Telescope

Hubble Space Telescope

@nasahubble This is the official account for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, managed and operated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

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152.3K    497    2 days ago

This image of the Southern Crab Nebula was taken to celebrate Hubble's 29th anniversary since its launch on April 24, 1990. It shows the results of two stellar companions in a gravitational waltz, several thousand light-years from Earth in the southern constellation Centaurus. The stellar duo, consisting of a red giant and white dwarf, are too close together to see individually in this view. But the consequences of their whirling about each other are two vast shells of gas expanding into space like a runaway hot air balloon. Both stars are embedded in a flat disk of hot material that constricts the outflowing gas so that it only escapes away above and below the stars. This apparently happens in episodes because the nebula has two distinct nested hourglass-structures. The bubbles of gas and dust appear brightest at the edges, giving the illusion of crab legs. The rich colors correspond to glowing hydrogen, sulfur, nitrogen, and oxygen. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Credits: NASA, ESA, and STScI #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #nebula #southerncrab #anniversary #gravity

29.1K    130    4 days ago

Retired NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld hosts this six-part mini-series about the tools used on the Hubble Space Telescope servicing missions. Hubble was uniquely designed to be serviced in space so that components could be repaired and upgraded. Astronauts risked their lives on five servicing missions from 1993 to 2009 to enable Hubble to conduct world-class science. In addition to enabling Hubble's scientific discoveries, the tools developed and tested by teams at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center furthered NASA's human exploration capabilities. These tools and the knowledge gleaned from the Hubble servicing missions are used today by astronauts on the International Space Station, and will be critical to NASA's future crewed missions to the moon and Mars. Join John and astronaut trainer Christy Hansen in this first episode to learn about how astronauts trained to use the tools on the Hubble servicing missions. For more information, visit nasa.gov/hubble. Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Katrina Jackson. Music credits: "Wine On It" by Kevin Blanc [SACEM]; KTSA Publishing SACEM; Gum Tapes; Killer Tracks Production Music. "Breakthrough" by Donn Wilerson [BMI]; Killer Tracks BMI; Killer Tracks Production Music.

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113.3K    278    5 days ago

#HubbleClassic Like an insect’s feelers, long tendrils of gas and dust curl and reach across space throughout the enormous stellar factory known as the Tarantula Nebula. Hubble shared this image of the cosmic spider in 2012 for the telescope’s 22nd anniversary. For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credits: 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. Bastian (Excellence Cluster, Munich), L. Bedin (INAF, Padua), E. Bressert (ESO), P. Crowther (University of Sheffield), A. de Koter (University of Amsterdam), C. Evans (UKATC/STFC, Edinburgh), A. Herrero (IAC, Tenerife), N. Langer (AifA, Bonn), I. Platais (JHU), and H. Sana (University of Amsterdam) #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #spider #nebula #anniversary #tarantula

14.7K    64    5 days ago

🔈Tuesdays starting tomorrow, we will be releasing a new six-part mini-series about the tools used on Hubble's servicing missions, hosted by retired NASA astronaut John Grunsfeld. Hubble was uniquely designed to be serviced in space so that components could be repaired and upgraded. Astronauts performed challenging spacewalks on five servicing missions from 1993 to 2009 to keep Hubble operating so that it could change our fundamental understanding of the universe. In addition to enabling Hubble's scientific discoveries, the tools developed by teams at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and tested with the Johnson Space Center furthered NASA's human exploration capabilities. These tools and the knowledge gleaned from the Hubble servicing missions are used today by astronauts on the International Space Station, and will be critical to NASA's future crewed missions to the moon and Mars. #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #astronaut #tool #tooltime #hubbletooltime #miniseries #explore

98.6K    308    8 days ago

#HubbleFriday Globular clusters are inherently beautiful objects, but the subject of this Hubble image, Messier 3, is commonly acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful of them all. Containing an incredible half-million stars, this 8-billion-year-old cosmic bauble is one of the largest and brightest globular clusters ever discovered. However, what makes Messier 3 extra special is its unusually large population of variable stars — stars that fluctuate in brightness over time. New variable stars continue to be discovered in this sparkling stellar nest to this day, but so far we know of 274, the highest number found in any globular cluster by far. At least 170 of these are of a special variety called RR Lyrae variables, which pulse with a period directly related to their intrinsic brightness. If astronomers know how bright a star truly is based on its mass and classification, and they know how bright it appears to be from our viewpoint here on Earth, they can thus work out its distance from us. For this reason, RR Lyrae stars are known as standard candles — objects of known luminosity whose distance and position can be used to help us understand more about vast celestial distances and the scale of the cosmos. Messier 3 also contains a relatively high number of so-called blue stragglers, which are shown quite clearly in this Hubble image. These are blue main sequence stars that appear to be young because they are bluer and more luminous than other stars in the cluster. As all stars in globular clusters are believed to have formed together and thus to be roughly the same age, only a difference in mass can give these stars a different color. A red, old star can appear bluer when it acquires more mass, for instance by stripping it from a nearby star. The extra mass changes it into a bluer star, which makes us think it is younger than it really is. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency) Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, G. Piotto et al. #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #stars #cluster #globularcluster #messier #m3

89.9K    243    11 days ago

#HubbleClassic Fiery-looking plumes of hydrogen gas blast out of the blue disk of galaxy M82, where stars form 10x faster than in our galaxy. Hubble captured this visible & infrared mosaic of M82 in 2006 to celebrate the telescope's 16th anniversary. For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credits: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin), M. Mountain (STScI), and P. Puxley (National Science Foundation #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #galaxy #m82 #messier #anniversary

101.2K    422    15 days ago

#HubbleFriday Star clusters are commonly featured in cosmic photoshoots, and are also well-loved by the keen eye of Hubble. These large gatherings of celestial gems are striking sights — and Messier 2 is certainly no exception. Messier 2 is located in the constellation of Aquarius, about 55,000 light-years away. It is a globular cluster, a spherical group of stars all tightly bound together by gravity. With a diameter of roughly 175 light-years, a population of 150,000 stars, and an age of 13 billion years, Messier 2 is one of the largest clusters of its kind and one of the oldest associated with the Milky Way. This Hubble image of Messier 2’s core was created using visible and infrared light. Most of the cluster’s mass is concentrated at its center, with shimmering streams of stars extending outward into space. It is bright enough that it can even be seen with the naked eye when observing conditions are extremely good. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency) Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, G. Piotto et al. #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #star #cluster #globularcluster #messier #m2 #aquarius

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116.7K    527    18 days ago

#HubbleClassic Dark, wispy clouds of gas and dust are giving birth to new stars 6,400 light-years away in the Monkey Head Nebula (NGC 2174). Hubble captured this infrared view of a small part of the nebula 5 years ago for the telescope's 24th anniversary. For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credits: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #nebula #infrared

80.2K    271    22 days ago

#HubbleFriday This star-studded image shows us a portion of Messier 11, an open star cluster in the southern constellation of Scutum (the Shield). Messier 11 is also known as the Wild Duck Cluster, as its brightest stars form a “V” shape that somewhat resembles a flock of ducks in flight. Messier 11 is one of the richest and most compact open clusters currently known. By investigating the brightest, hottest main sequence stars in the cluster, astronomers estimate that it formed roughly 220 million years ago. Open clusters tend to contain fewer and younger stars than their more compact globular cousins, and Messier 11 is no exception: at its center lie many blue stars, the hottest and youngest of the cluster’s few thousand stellar residents. The lifespans of open clusters are also relatively short compared to those of globular ones; stars in open clusters are spread farther apart and are thus not as strongly bound to each other by gravity, causing them to be more easily and quickly drawn away by stronger gravitational forces. As a result, Messier 11 is likely to disperse in a few million years as its members are ejected one by one, pulled away by other celestial objects in the vicinity. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, P. Dobbie et al. Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA) #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #messier #11 #starcluster #star #wildduckcluster

56.1K    162    23 days ago

This Hubble image reveals the gradual destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material has formed two long, thin, comet-like tails. The longer tail stretches more than 500,000 miles and is roughly 3,000 miles wide. The shorter tail is about a quarter as long. The streamers will eventually disperse into space. These unusual, transient features are evidence that the asteroid, known as (6478) Gault, is beginning to come apart by gently puffing off material in two separate episodes. Hubble's sharp view reveals that the tails are narrow streamers, suggesting that the dust was released in short bursts, lasting anywhere from a few hours to a few days. The first tail was spotted on Jan. 5, 2019; the second in mid-January. An analysis of both tails suggests the two dust releases occurred around Oct. 28 and Dec. 30, 2018. Astronomers think the tiny asteroid, only 2.5 miles wide, is disintegrating due to the long-term subtle effects of sunlight, which can slowly speed up its spin until it begins to shed material. In fact, the self-destruction may have been started more than 100 million years ago. Pressure from sunlight very slowly began spinning up the diminutive asteroid at an estimated rate of 1 second every 10,000 years. The asteroid is located 214 million miles from the Sun, between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Credits: NASA, ESA, K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii), and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory) #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #asteroid #tail #dust

47.8K    200    25 days ago

#HubbleClassic The mighty gravitational field of a massive cluster of galaxies known as Abell 2218 bends time and space, warping the light from galaxies behind the cluster. Curved arcs of light are the distorted apparitions of background galaxies billions of light-years away. For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credits: NASA, Andrew Fruchter and the ERO Team [Sylvia Baggett (STScI), Richard Hook (ST-ECF), Zoltan Levay (STScI)] (STScI) #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #gravity #cluster #lensing #galaxy #lightyears

49.7K    182    29 days ago

#HubbleFriday This fuzzy orb of light is a giant elliptical galaxy filled with an incredible 200 billion stars. Unlike spiral galaxies, which have a well-defined structure and boast picturesque spiral arms, elliptical galaxies appear fairly smooth and featureless. This is likely why this galaxy, named Messier 49 (M49), was discovered by French astronomer Charles Messier in 1771. At a distance of 56 million light-years and measuring 157,000 light-years across, M49 was the first member of the Virgo Cluster of galaxies to be discovered, and it is more luminous than any other galaxy at its distance or nearer. Elliptical galaxies tend to contain a larger portion of older stars than spiral galaxies and also lack young, blue stars. Messier 49 itself is very yellow, which indicates that the stars within it are mostly older and redder than the Sun. In fact, the last major episode of star formation within the galaxy was about six billion years ago — before the Sun was even born! Messier 49 is also rich in globular star clusters; it hosts about 6,000 — a number that dwarfs the 150 found in and around the Milky Way. On average, these clusters are 10 billion years old. Messier 49 is also known to host a supermassive black hole at its center with the mass of more than 500 million Suns, identifiable by the X-rays pouring out from the heart of the galaxy. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Blakenslee, P. Cote et al. Text credit: European Space Agency (ESA) #NASA #Hubble #space #science #astronomy #universe #telescope #cosmos #galaxy #stars #messier #virgo #blackhole