As the pieces of the James Webb Space Telescope – the next-gen replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope – come together, there's plenty of excitement in the astronomy community, but as Nature reports, there is plenty of anxiety as well. Webb, scheduled for launch in 2014, simply has to work.
Peering deep into the cosmos with its upgraded infrared camera last year, the Hubble Space Telescope was able to image a very deep region of the universe. Researchers didn’t realize it at the time, but after follow-up measurements by the ESO’s ground-based Very Large Telescope, a team of astronomers have determined that they’ve glimpsed the most distant object ever seen, some 13 billion light years away.
No one has ever quite nailed down gravity. Newton saw that bodies appeared to attract each other even at a great distance, and from this observation was able to construct a mathematical formula that predicted the motion of the planets with astonishing accuracy.
Without a telescope, the Lagoon Nebula is faintly visible with the naked eye as a unremarkable patch of gray in the heart of the Milky Way. Observed up close with the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, it looks slightly more nuanced. Hubble recently captured this close-up of gas and dust painted brightly by intense radiation spouting from young stars forming deep in this stellar nursery five thousand light-years away.
This spooky image of a tiny nebula known as IRAS 05437+2502 was recently released by the Hubble Space Telescope, but perhaps even more eerie than the wispy, ghost-like appearance of the little-studied star forming region is the boomerang-like light crowning the nebula. Though the Infrared Astronomical Satellite (IRAS) first discovered the nebula in 1983, astronomers have no clue what is lighting up this glowing object.
The Large Binocular Telescope just got a new pair of eyes, and while we love our orbiting telescopes we have to admit the LBT looks pretty sharp. The Arizona-based telescope just brought home the clearest pictures of space ever taken from an Earth-based telescope -- images three times sharper than those from the Hubble Space Telescope. Oh, and that's with only one of its two mirrors working.
Scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope think they’ve found Jupiter’s missing cloud belt, hiding out behind a layer of ammonia clouds.
They also think they can explain the bright flash seen from Earth earlier this month: it was a meteor, though a small one that didn’t get very far.
When it becomes the successor to the illustrious Hubble later this decade, the James Webb Space Telescope's infrared eye will peer further into the edges of space (and time) than any telescope before it. But while the real thing is undergoing final construction at Northrop Grumman HQ, an exact 1:1 scale model has been touring the world, giving us a chance to get close to a realistic representation of an unconventional-looking spacecraft that will soon be the source of the most amazing images of the cosmos we've every seen.
We paid a visit to the JWST in Lower Manhattan's Battery Park city. Take a look at our photo gallery to see more:
New photos from the Hubble Space Telescope show once again the value of having a decades-old orbiting observatory. After examining identical photos taken 10 years apart, scientists measured the speeds of individual stars in a distant nebula — a feat akin to seeing the apparent thickness of a human hair 500 miles away.
The stars were not moving in the ways scientists expected, so the finding could illuminate star-formation theories, the researchers say.