The Venerable Hubble Space Telescope Keeps Delivering

The Hubble Space Telescope is amazing! It's still going strong more than 34 years after it was launched. This Hubble image showcases a nearly edge-on view of the lenticular galaxy NGC 4753. ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Kelsey

The world was much different in 1990 when NASA astronauts removed the Hubble Space Telescope from Space Shuttle Discovery’s cargo bay and placed it into orbit. The Cold War was ending, there were only 5.3 billion humans, and the World Wide Web had just come online.

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A Nebula that Extends its Hand into Space

This cloudy, ominous structure is CG 4, a cometary globule nicknamed ‘God’s Hand’. CG 4 is one of many cometary globules present within the Milky Way, and how these objects get their distinct form is still a matter of debate among astronomers. Image Credit: CTIO/NOIRLab/DOE/NSF/AURA Image Processing: T.A. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage/NSF’s NOIRLab), D. de Martin & M. Zamani (NSF’s NOIRLab)

The Gum Nebula is an emission nebula almost 1400 light-years away. It’s home to an object known as “God’s Hand” among the faithful. The rest of us call it CG 4.

Many objects in space take on fascinating, ethereal shapes straight out of someone’s psychedelic fantasy. CG4 is definitely ethereal and extraordinary, but it’s also a little more prosaic. It looks like a hand extending into space.

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Fall Into a Black Hole With this New NASA Simulation

NASA used a supercomputer to visualize falling into a black hole much like the one in the center of the Milky Way. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center /J. Schnittman and B. Powell

No human being will ever encounter a black hole. But we can’t stop wondering what it would be like to fall into one of these massive, beguiling, physics-defying singularities.

NASA created a simulation to help us imagine what it would be like.

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Insanely Detailed Webb Image of the Horsehead Nebula

The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope has captured the sharpest infrared images to date of one of the most distinctive objects in our skies, the Horsehead Nebula. The observations show a part of the iconic nebula in a whole new light, capturing its complexity with unprecedented spatial resolution. Image Credits: ESA/Euclid/Euclid Consortium/NASA, image processing by J.-C. Cuillandre (CEA Paris-Saclay), G. Anselmi, NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI), ESA/Webb, CSA, K. Misselt, M. Zamani (ESA/Webb) LICENCE CC BY 4.0 INT or ESA Standard Licence

Few space images are as iconic as those of the Horsehead Nebula. Its shape makes it instantly recognizable. Over the decades, a number of telescopes have captured its image, turning it into a sort of test case for a telescope’s power.

The JWST has them all beat.

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US Satellite Photographs a South Korean Satellite from Lunar Orbit

This Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter image shows the Republic of Korea's Danuri lunar orbiter travelling above the lunar surface. Capturing the image wasn't easy. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard/Arizona State University

In 2009, NASA launched the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO.) Its ongoing mission is to map the lunar surface in detail, locating potential landing sites, resources, and interesting features like lava tubes. The mission is an ongoing success, another showcase of NASA’s skill. It’s mapped about 98.2% of the lunar surface, excluding the deeply shadowed regions in the polar areas.

But recently, the LRO team’s skill was on display for another reason: it captured images of another satellite speeding over the lunar surface.

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Hubble Sees a Bridge of Stars Connecting Two Galaxies

The galaxy NGC 5427 shines in this new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image. Image Credits: NASA, ESA, and R. Foley (University of California – Santa Cruz); Processing: Gladys Kober (NASA/Catholic University of America)

The poetic-minded among us like to point out how Nature is a dance. If they’re right, then galaxies sometimes form unwieldy pairs. With the Hubble Space Telescope, we can spot some of these galactic pairs as they approach one another.

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Feast Your Eyes on 19 Face-On Spiral Galaxies Seen by Webb

These Webb images are part of a large, long-standing project, the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) program, which is supported by more than 150 astronomers worldwide. Before Webb took these images, PHANGS was already brimming with data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope’s Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, including observations in ultraviolet, visible, and radio light. Webb’s near- and mid-infrared contributions have provided several new puzzle pieces. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA

If you’re fascinated by Nature, these images of spiral galaxies won’t help you escape your fascination.

These images show incredible detail in 19 spirals, imaged face-on by the JWST. The galactic arms with their multitudes of stars are lit up in infrared light, as are the dense galactic cores, where supermassive black holes reside.

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This Galaxy Hosted One of the Most Powerful Supernovae Ever Seen

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image is of the small galaxy known as UGC 5189A. This otherwise unremarkable galaxy was the site of an extraordinarly luminous supernova in 2010. ESA/Hubble & NASA, A. Filippenko

In 2010, an exceptionally luminous supernova exploded in a small galaxy about 150 million light-years away called UGC 5189A. The Hubble Space Telescope has kept its eye on this galaxy because of the extraordinary supernova, which for three years released more than 2.5 billion times the energy of our Sun in visible light alone.

Though the supernova, named SN 2010jl, died down years ago, astronomers are still watching its aftermath.

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The Youngest Planetary Disks Ever Seen

The evolutionary sequence of protoplanetary disks with substructures, from the ALMA CAMPOS survey. These wide varieties of planetary disk structures are possible formation sites for young protoplanets. Image Credit: Hsieh et al. in prep.

How long does planet formation take? Maybe not as long as we thought, according to new research. Observations with the Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array (ALMA) show that planet formation around young stars may begin much earlier than scientists thought.

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Juno Makes its Closest Flyby of Io

NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this image of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io. Image Credit: NASA / JPL-Caltech / SwRI / MSSS / Kevin Gill

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has been getting closer and closer to Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io with each recent orbit. Juno is in its 57th orbit of Jupiter, and on December 30th, Juno came to within 1500 km (930 miles) of Io’s surface. It’s been more than 20 years since a spacecraft came this close.

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