Just look at the kind of stunning images that are buried in the archives from the Hubble Space Telescope! Here, Hubble turned its powerful wide field Advanced Camera for Surveys towards this spiral galaxy and took this close-up of its northern half. The entire galaxy, called NGC 891, stretches across 100,000 light-years and we see it exactly edge-on. Visible are filaments of dust and gas escaping the plane of the galaxy. A few foreground stars from the Milky Way shine brightly in the image, while distant elliptical galaxies can be seen in the lower right of the image.
This is just an example of the hidden gems in Hubble’s archives that have never been seen by the general public. There’s a new contest to find more — so how can you participate?
The HST has made over one million observations during its more than two decades in orbit. New images are published nearly every week, but hidden in Hubble’s huge data archives are some truly breathtaking images that have never been seen. They’re called Hubble’s Hidden Treasures, and between now and May 31, 2012, ESA invites you to help bring them to light. Just explore the Hubble Legacy Archive (HLA), and dig out a great dataset, adjust the contrast and colors using the simple online tools, and submit to the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures Contest Flickr group. For more information about the competition, visit the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures webpage.
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The European Southern Observatory (ESO) also conducted a similar ‘treasure hunt’ with great results
This image was found by contestant Nick Rose.