The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light-years from Earth Orion belt of the constellation Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae and can be seen with the naked eye on clear dark nights. The nebula is the closest star-forming region to Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched on April 24, 1990 from the space shuttle Discovery.
Hubble gave us many images of our neighbor Mars. This image was taken in 2003, when Mars approached almost 60,000 years. On August 27, 2003, the two worlds were 34.6 million miles from center to center. Conversely, Mars is about 299 million miles from Earth.
Hubble took a picture of Ganymede in 2007, who appeared to be peeking from under Jupiter. Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and is much larger than Mercury.
Hubble captured this image of Saturn in 2004, which was so sharp that you could see some of the planet’s tiny rings.
In this image, taken in 1997, Hubble traced the cloud of Uranus, which is a composite of three near-infrared images. The planetary rings stand out in the near infrared. In both images, you can see 8 of Uranus’s 27 moons. Uranus is about 1.75 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble captured an image of Neptune in the distant turquoise world in 2005. To help scientists know more about Neptune’s atmosphere, we used filters of 14 different colors. Neptune is about 2.8 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble has discovered 4 of Pluto’s 5 moons. 2005: Nix and Hydra were discovered. Hubble discovered Kerberos in 2011 and Styx in 2012. The new discovery joined the great moon of Pluto, Charon, discovered in 1978. Styx was discovered in July 2015 by scientists using Hubble to find the potential dangers of the New Horizons spacecraft that Pluto flew. Pluto is about 2.9 billion miles from Earth.
The iconic Horsehead Nebula is a favorite target of astronomers. If you look carefully, you can see the shape of the horse’s head rising above the stars. This Hubble image captures a nebula in infrared wavelengths. The nebula is located 1,600 light-years from Earth.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula is a bundle of glowing gases that have been driven into space by a dying star. This Hubble Space Telescope image shows details of the structure, including high-speed gas jets and unusual gas knots. This color photo is a composite of three images taken at different wavelengths. The nebula is estimated to be 1,000 years ago. It is located about 3,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Draco.
The Worm or Butterfly Nebula looks like a butterfly with its wings crossing the galaxy. It’s actually a cloud of gas scattered by dying stars. Scientists say the gas is expanding into space above 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit and more than 600,000 miles per hour. This image was taken in May 2009 with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, a camera installed on Hubble during the shuttle astronaut’s upgrade. The nebula is about 3,800 light-years away from Scorpio.
Astronomers have combined several Hubble images taken in 2014 to upgrade Hubble’s iconic 1995 “Pillar of Creation” image. The new image shows a wider field of view of the pillars stretching about 5 light-years high. The pillars are part of a small area of the Eagle Nebula about 6,500 light-years from Earth.
This massive nebula is located 7,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Carina. It is one of the largest and brightest nebulae and a nursery for new stars. It also has several stars estimated to be over 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun. These include Eta Carina, one of the brightest stars known and one of the heaviest stars in the galaxy.
One of the closest neighbors to our Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy can be seen with the naked eye if you know where to look for a clear, dark night. Scientists using Hubble’s data in 2012 predicted that Andromeda would collide with the Milky Way in about 4 billion years. Andromeda is 2.5 million light-years from Earth.
The Cigar Galaxy is 12 million light-years away. It gets its name from its shape. On Earth it looks like an elongated elliptical disc.
Called one of the most photographed galaxies, the Sombrero Galaxy looks like a huge wide brim of a Mexican hat sitting among the stars. You can find it with a small telescope. It is about 28 million light-years from Earth.
This group of galaxies is about 290 million light-years away from Earth. It is named after Edouard Stefan, the French astronomer who first discovered it in 1877.
Hubble captured this image of a group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. Larger galaxies have a central disk that is distorted into a rosette, pulled by their lower partner.
In 2004, astronomers unveiled a portrait of the deepest visible universe ever taken. A million-second exposure, called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, shows the first galaxy that emerged shortly after the Big Bang. The image shows about 10,000 galaxies. In 2012, astronomers collected an upgraded image called the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field. It originally combined a 10-year Hubble Space Telescope photograph of a piece of the sky at the center of the Hubble Super Deep. The new image contains about 5,500 galaxies.
This 2018 Hubble image shows the Lagoon Nebula, a chaotic nursery full of baby stars. In the center of this image, a young star that is 200,000 times brighter than the sun emits ultraviolet rays.
The stars also love to blow bubbles. This 2016 image shares Hubble’s view of the Bubble Nebula, where super-hot giant stars are blowing giant bubbles into space. The diameter of the nebula is 7 light years.
Cone Nebula is a violent star-forming column of gas and dust. Although 7 light years long, this image, taken by Hubble in 2002, shows 2.5 light years (equivalent to 23 million round trips to the moon). Ultraviolet rays cause hydrogen gas to give off a eerie red glow.
This shows in detail a section of a slowly expanding supernova or the remnants of an exploding star. Hubble took this picture in 2015 in the Veil Nebula, 2,100 light-years away. The star was once 20 times heavier than our sun, but only a gas mass remains.
In 2009, NASA’s great observatory, including Hubble, as well as the Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, combined their observing capabilities to create this unprecedented composite image of the center of our galaxy. Infrared and X-ray light taken with a telescope can be seen here. Hubble’s contribution is yellow, Spitzer’s observations are red, and Chandra is blue and purple.
Hubble also worked with Spitzer to create an amazing image of the Orion Nebula in 2006, which combines visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light. The large community of stars is displayed in yellow at the center of the image.
Hubble photographed a halo of light that extends around the star V838 Monocerotis in 2004.
M83 is a nearby spiral galaxy, and this 2014 Hubble image shows thousands of star clusters and supernova remnants. Young stars can be seen in pink hydrogen gas bubbles.
This infrared image, taken by Hubble in 2014, shows the Monkey Head Nebula where star formation occurs 6,400 light-years away from us. Clouds of dust and glowing gases swirl together here and represent the constituents that form stars.
Ultraviolet observations of this giant Eta Carina star were taken by Hubble in 2019, the larger of the two orbiting each other. It is known that there is a violent explosion, as can be seen from the bubbles here.
Fireworks are even more beautiful in space. Hubble captured an image of a massive cluster of 3,000 stars in 2015. It is called Westerlund 2, located 20,000 light-years from Earth.