Hubble Space Telescope Videos of Memorable Moments, Workings & Amazing Photo Gallery
Hubble’s Amazing Universe, 46-Minutes, and Truly Amazing High Definition Documentary
Responsible for unlocking many mysteries of the final frontier, the most renowned telescope in the world is in danger of being lost forever. The Hubble Space Telescope has explored the creation of stars and planets, the glory of supernovas and the formation of super massive black holes, charted dark matter and changed forever our understanding of reality itself. Now, it’s spiraling toward the Earth, and astronauts are embarking on a dangerous mission to fix it. In Hubble’s Amazing Universe, glimpse the far ends of the universe as seen through the amazing Hubble Space Telescope, and meet one of the astronauts risking everything to save it.
NASA | Hubble Memorable Moments: Brute Force
In this second video of NASA’s Hubble Memorable Moments series celebrating Hubble’s 25 years, the team scrambles to work out an unusual solution to a problem encountered during an instrument repair. The Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, or STIS, was installed on Hubble during Servicing Mission 2 in 1997. The versatile instrument was heavily used until a power supply failure in 2004. The Hubble team spent years preparing for a complex repair task in 2009 on the final servicing mission. But no matter how prepared you are, there is always the possibility of an unexpected obstacle. This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11822.
Awesome pictures from the Hubble [1080p]
NGC 4639 is a beautiful example of a type of galaxy known as a barred spiral. It lies over 70-million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo and is one of about 1500 galaxies that make up the Virgo Cluster. In this image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, one can clearly see the bar running through the bright, round core of the galaxy. Bars are found in around two thirds of spiral galaxies, and are thought to be a natural phase in their evolution. The galaxy’s spiral arms are sprinkled with bright regions of active star formation. Each of these tiny jewels is actually several hundred light-years across and contains hundreds or thousands of newly formed stars. But NGC 4639 also conceals a dark secret in its core—a massive black hole that is consuming the surrounding gas.
This is known as an active galactic nucleus (AGN), and is revealed by characteristic features in the spectrum of light from the galaxy and by X-rays produced close to the black hole as the hot gas plunges towards it. Most galaxies are thought to contain a black hole at the centre. NGC 4639 is in fact a very weak example of an AGN, demonstrating that AGNs exist over a large range of activity, from galaxies like NGC 4639 to distant quasars, where the parent galaxy is almost completely dominated by the emissions from the AGN.
This planetary nebula is called PK 329-02.2 and is located in the constellation of Norma in the southern sky. It is also sometimes referred to as Menzel 2, or Mz 2, named after the astronomer Donald Menzel who discovered the nebula in 1922. When stars that are around the mass of the Sun reach their final stages of life, they shed their outer layers into space, which appear as glowing clouds of gas called planetary nebulae. The ejection of mass in stellar burnout is irregular and not symmetrical, so that planetary nebulae can have very complex shapes. In the case of Menzel 2 the nebula forms a winding blue cloud that perfectly aligns with two stars at its centre. In 1999 astronomers discovered that the star at the upper right is in fact the central star of the nebula, and the star to the lower left is probably a true physical companion of the central star.
For tens of thousands of years the stellar core will be cocooned in spectacular clouds of gas and then, over a period of a few thousand years, the gas will fade away into the depths of the Universe. The curving structure of Menzel 2 resembles a last goodbye before the star reaches its final stage of retirement as a white dwarf. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Serge Meunier.
It is known today that merging galaxies play a large role in the evolution of galaxies and the formation of elliptical galaxies in particular. However there are only a few merging systems close enough to be observed in depth. The pair of interacting galaxies picture seen here—known as NGC 3921—is one of these systems. NGC 3921—found in the constellation of Ursa Major (The Great Bear)—is an interacting pair of disc galaxies in the late stages of its merger.
Observations show that both of the galaxies involved were about the same mass and collided about 700 million years ago. You can see clearly in this image the disturbed morphology, tails and loops characteristic of a post-merger. The clash of galaxies caused a rush of star formation and previous Hubble observations showed over 1000 bright, young star clusters bursting to life at the heart of the galaxy pair.
This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows Messier 96, a spiral galaxy just over 35 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). It is of about the same mass and size as the Milky Way. It was first discovered by astronomer Pierre Méchain in 1781, and added to Charles Messier’s famous catalogue of astronomical objects just four days later. The galaxy resembles a giant maelstrom of glowing gas, rippled with dark dust that swirls inwards towards the nucleus.
Messier 96 is a very asymmetric galaxy; its dust and gas is unevenly spread throughout its weak spiral arms, and its core is not exactly at the galactic centre. Its arms are also asymmetrical, thought to have been influenced by the gravitational pull of other galaxies within the same group as Messier 96. This group, named the M96 Group, also includes the bright galaxies Messier 105 and Messier 95, as well as a number of smaller and fainter galaxies. It is the nearest group containing both bright spirals and a bright elliptical galaxy (Messier 105).
Shown here in a new image taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) on board the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the globular cluster NGC 1783. This is one of the biggest globular clusters in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our own galaxy, the Milky Way, in the southern hemisphere constellation of Dorado.
First observed by John Herschel in 1835, NGC 1783 is nearly 160 000 light-years from Earth, and has a mass around 170 000 times that of the Sun. Globular clusters are dense collections of stars held together by their own gravity, which orbit around galaxies like satellites. The image clearly shows the symmetrical shape of NGC 1783 and the concentration of stars towards the centre, both typical features of globular clusters. By measuring the colour and brightness of individual stars, astronomers can deduce an overall age for a cluster and a picture of its star formation history. NGC 1783 is thought to be under one and a half billion years old—which is very young for globular clusters, which are typically several billion years old.
During that time, it is thought to have undergone at least two periods of star formation, separated by 50 to 100 million years. This ebb and flow of star-forming activity is an indicator of how much gas is available for star formation at any one time. When the most massive stars created in the first burst of formation explode as supernovae they blow away the gas needed to form further stars, but the gas reservoir can later be replenished by less massive stars which last longer and shed their gas less violently.
After this gas flows to the dense central regions of the star cluster, a second phase of star formation can take place and once again the short-lived massive stars blow away any leftover gas. This cycle can continue a few times, at which time the remaining gas reservoir is thought to be too small to form any new stars.
This new image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3521 from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is not out of focus. Instead, the galaxy itself has a soft, woolly appearance as it a member of a class of galaxies known as flocculent spirals. Like other flocculent galaxies, NGC 3521 lacks the clearly defined, arcing structure to its spiral arms that shows up in galaxies such as Messier 101, which are called grand design spirals. In flocculent spirals, fluffy patches of stars and dust show up here and there throughout their discs.
Sometimes the tufts of stars are arranged in a generally spiraling form, as with NGC 3521, but illuminated star-filled regions can also appear as short or discontinuous spiral arms. About 30 percent of galaxies share NGC 3521’s patchiness, while approximately 10 percent have their star-forming regions wound into grand design spirals. NGC 3521 is located almost 40 million light-years away in the constellation of Leo (The Lion). The British astronomer William Herschel discovered the object in 1784. Through backyard telescopes, NGC 3521 can have a glowing, rounded appearance, giving rise to its nickname, the Bubble Galaxy.
Ribbons of dust festoon the galaxy NGC 613 in this new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 613 is classified as a barred spiral galaxy for the bar-shaped band of stars and dust crossing its intensely glowing centre. About two thirds of spiral galaxies show a characteristic bar shape like NGC 613—our own galaxy appears to have one of these bars through its midline as well. NGC 613 lies 65 million light-years away in the constellation of Sculptor (The Sculptor). It was first noted by the English astronomer William Herschel in 1798 and later by John Louis Emil Dreyer, a Danish–Irish astronomer, who recorded the object in his 1888 New General Catalogue of Nebulae and Clusters of Stars—hence the letters “NGC”.
NGC 613’s core looks bright and uniformly white in this image as a result of the combined light shining from the high concentration of stars packed into the core, but lurking at the centre of this brilliance lies a dark secret. As with nearly all spiral galaxies, a monstrous black hole resides at the heart of NGC 613. Its mass is estimated at about ten times that of the Milky Way’s super-massive black hole and it is consuming stars, gas and dust.
As this matter descends into the black hole’s maw it radiates away energy and spews out radio waves. However, when looking at the the galaxy in the optical and infrared wavelengths used to take this image, there is no trace of the dark heart. A version of this image was entered into the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures image processing competition by contestant Robert Gendler.