The Gemini Nebula is 1,500 light years from Earth and is located in Orion’s belt in the constellation Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae – and on a clear and dark night, visible with the naked eye. Nebula is the closest star-forming region to Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched from the Discovery Space Shuttle on April 24, 1990.
Hubble has given us many pictures of our neighbor, Mars. This image was taken in 2003 when Mars approached its closest point nearly 60,000 years ago. On August 27, 2003, the two worlds were only 34.6 million miles from center to center. By contrast, Mars could be about 249 million miles from Earth.
The Hubble Telescope captured this 2007 image of Ganymede appearing to be looking down from below Jupiter. Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system, and it is larger than Mercury.
The Hubble Telescope captured this image of Saturn in 2004, a sight so sharp that some of the planet’s smaller rings can be seen.
Hubble tracks clouds over Uranus in this 1997 image. The image is composed of three near-infrared images. The planet’s rings are prominent in the near infrared. Eight of Uranus’ 27 satellites can be seen in both images. Uranus is about 1.75 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble captured this image of the distant blue-green world of Neptune in 2005. Fourteen different color filters have been used to help scientists learn more about Neptune’s atmosphere. Neptune is about 2.8 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble discovered four of Pluto’s five moons. 2005: Nix and Hydra are found. Hubble discovered Kerberos in 2011 and Styx in 2012. New discoveries joined the large Pluto moon Charon, which was discovered in 1978. Styx was found by scientists using Hubble to search for potential hazards from the New Horizons spacecraft that flew near Pluto in July 2015. Pluto is about 2.9 billion miles from Earth.
The iconic Horsehead Nebula is a favorite target of astronomers. Look carefully and you will see what looks like a horse’s head rising to the stars. Hubble captures this nebula at infrared wavelengths. The nebula is 1,600 light years away from Earth.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula is a group of glowing gases released into space by a dying star. This Hubble Space Telescope image shows details of structures including jets of high-speed gas and an unusual node of gas. This color image is composed of three images that were taken at different wavelengths. The nebula is estimated to be about 1,000 years old. It is about 3,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Draco.
The Insect Nebula looks like a butterfly with wings spread across the galaxy. It’s actually a cloud of raging gas that a dying star has thrown at it. Scientists say the gas is over 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit and expanding into space by more than 600,000 miles per hour. This image was captured with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, a Hubble-mounted camera during an upgrade in May 2009 by shuttle astronauts. The nebula is about 3,800 light-years away in the constellation Scorpio.
Astronomers have combined several Hubble images taken in 2014 to create an enhanced rendering of the 1995 Hubble Telescope’s iconic “Pillars of Creation” image. The new image shows a wider view of the pillars extending 5 light-years high. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula, which is about 6,500 light years from Earth.
This gigantic nebula lies 7,500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Karina. It is one of the largest and brightest nebulae and is a nursery for new stars. It also has many stars estimated to be at least 50 to 100 times the mass of our sun, including Eta Karina, one of the brightest stars known and one of the most massive stars in the Milky Way.
One of the Milky Way’s closest neighbors, the Andromeda Galaxy, can be seen with the naked eye if you know where to look on a clear, dark night. In 2012, scientists predicted using data from Hubble that Andromeda would collide with the Milky Way in about four billion years. Andromeda is 2.5 million light years from Earth.
Cigar Galaxy is located 12 million light years away. It got its name from its shape: from the ground it looks like an elongated oval disk.
It is called one of the most photogenic galaxies: the Sombrero galaxy looks like the gigantic broad rim of a Mexican hat seated among the stars. It can be spotted with a small telescope. It is about 28 million light years from Earth.
This group of galaxies is about 290 million light-years from Earth. It is named after its discoverer, French astronomer Edward Stefan, who first discovered it in 1877.
The Hubble telescope captured this image of a group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The larger galaxy has a central disk distorted into a rose-like shape by clouds from its partner below.
In 2004, astronomers unveiled the deepest image of the observable universe ever captured. The million-second exposure, called the Hubble Super-Deep Field, releases the first galaxies that appeared shortly after the Big Bang. The image shows an estimated 10,000 galaxies. In 2012, astronomers put together an upgraded image called the Hubble Deep Field. I gathered 10 years of Hubble Space Telescope images taken of a swathe of the sky at the center of the original Hubble Ultra-Deep Field. The new image contains about 5,500 galaxies.
This 2018 Hubble photo shows the Lake Nebula, which is a messy nursery full of young stars. In the center of this image, there is a young star 200,000 times brighter than our Sun that explodes in UV rays.
Even stars like to blow bubbles. This 2016 image shares Hubble’s view of the Bubble Nebula, in which a massive supermassive star blows a giant bubble into space. The nebula is 7 light years across.
The Cone Nebula is a star-forming pillar of gas and dust. It is 7 light-years long, but this 2002 image taken by Hubble shows the highest 2.5 light-years (equivalent to 23 million round trips to the moon). The ultraviolet rays emit a strange red glow in the hydrogen gas.
Here’s a detailed look at a section of a slowly expanding supernova, or remnants of an exploding star. Hubble captured this image in 2015 of the Veil Nebula, which is 2,100 light-years away. The star was once twenty times the mass of our sun, but only tufts of gas remained.
In 2009, NASA’s great observatories, including Hubble, along with the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, combined their observational power to create this unprecedented composite image of the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Infrared light and X-rays captured by telescopes can be seen here. Hubble’s contributions are shown in yellow, Spitzer’s notes in red, and Chandra’s notes in blue and purple.
Hubble also collaborated with Spitzer to create this stunning image of the Orion Nebula in 2006. The image combines visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. The yellow color in the center of the image represents a group of huge stars.
Hubble captured this view of an expanding light 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 bubbles of hydrogen gas.
This infrared image taken by Hubble in 2014 shows the Monkey Head Nebula, where a star is being born 6,400 light-years away from us. Clouds of dust and glowing gas rotate together here, forming constituents of star formation.
Hubble captured this observation in ultraviolet light of the giant star Eta Karina in 2019. The star is the largest of the two orbiting each other. Violent attacks have been known to occur, as indicated by bubbles here.
Fireworks are more beautiful in space. The Hubble Telescope captured this gigantic group of 3,000 stars in 2015. It is called Westerlund 2, and it is located 20,000 light-years from Earth.