We always like to look forward to bigger and better tech, but NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, though it’s been around the block, still holds a special place in every geek’s heart. Now the freshly repaired and upgraded telescope has resumed churning out enough images of cosmic glory to turn anyone’s head.
Here you can view some of the finest galaxy and star cluster images that NASA has collected to date from the refurbished Hubble. Those hankering for a true 3-D interstellar tour can also check out our earlier coverage of Hubble’s Ultra Deep Field image.
What resemble dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to more than 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit, as the Planetary Nebula NGC 6302 expands outward from a dying star.
Hubble views a stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula, located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina, through both visible (top) and infrared(bottom) light.
A Star’s Life
Hubble caught a glimpse of 100,000 stars within the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, including robust yellow-white adults, swollen red giants, exhausted blue stars and even white dwarfs in their twilight years.
Galactic members of Stephan’s Quintet, also known as Hickson Compact Group 92, have tugged and pulled one another out of shape. But studies have shown that NGC 7320, at upper left, is actually a foreground galaxy about seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the group.
Abell 370 is one of the very first galaxy clusters where astronomers observed the phenomenon of gravitational lensing, where the warping of space by the cluster’s gravitational field distorts the light from galaxies lying far behind it. This is manifested as arcs and streaks in the picture, which are the stretched images of background galaxies.