It's Time for Jupiter's Annual Checkup by Hubble

Jupiter as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope on January 5 and 6, 2024. Credit: NASA/ESA/Space Telescope Science Institute.

Each year, the Hubble Space Telescope focuses on the giant planets in our Solar System when they’re near the closest point to Earth, which means they’ll be large and bright in the sky. Jupiter had its photos taken on January 5-6th, 2024, showing off both sides of the planet. Hubble was looking for storm activity and changes in Jupiter’s atmosphere.

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Now You Can See Exactly Where Hubble and JWST are Pointed

Graphics of the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes. Credit: NASA/STScI.

Hubble and JWST are busily scanning the sky, sending home enormous amounts of data. They shift from target to target, completing the required observations.

But have you ever wondered what those two space telescopes are doing right at this moment? Now, you can do just that at the new Space Telescope Live website. It will show you what each observatory is scanning, where the objects are in the sky, and what researchers hope to learn. You can even go back or forward in time and see what each telescope has been looking at in the past or what observations are coming up.

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Water Vapor Found in the Atmosphere of a Small Exoplanet

Artist's impression of GJ 9827 d, which is the smallest exoplanet ever found to potentially possess water in its atmosphere. (Credit: NASA, ESA, Leah Hustak and Ralf Crawford (STScI))

A recent study published in The Astrophysucal Journal Letters discusses the detection of water within the atmosphere of GJ 9827 d, which is a Neptune-like exoplanet located approximately 97 light-years from Earth, using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and is the smallest exoplanet to date where water has been detected in its atmosphere. This study was conducted by an international team of researchers and holds the potential to identify exoplanets throughout the Milky Way Galaxy which possess water within their atmospheres, along with highlighting the most accurate methods to identify the water, as well.

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This Strange-Looking Galaxy is Actually Two. And They're Merging

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image features Arp 122, a peculiar galaxy that in fact comprises two galaxies – NGC 6040, the tilted, warped spiral galaxy and LEDA 59642, the round, face-on spiral – that are in the midst of a collision. ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Dalcanton, Dark Energy Survey/DOE/FNAL/DECam/CTIO/NOIRLab/NSF/AURA Acknowledgement: L. Shatz

This strange-looking galaxy seems to be a spiral with a long tidal tail stretching away. It’s known as Arp 122, and it’s actually not just one galaxy, but two separate galaxies. NGC 6040 is the warped spiral galaxy seen edge-on, while LEDA 59642 is the round, face-on spiral. The two are colliding about 540 million light-years from Earth, and it gives us a preview of the Milky Way’s future collision with Andromeda.

This image was taken by the venerable Hubble Space Telescope

What will Arp 122 look like when the merger is complete? We’ll try to keep you posted, but this ongoing merger will take hundreds of millions of years, so be patient.

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JWST and Chandra Team Up for a Stunning View of Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A

This image of Cassiopeia A comes from a combination of data from the Chandra X-ray telescope and the James Webb Space Telescope. Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI; IR: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI/Milisavljevic et al., NASA/JPL/CalTech; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/J. Schmidt and K. Arcand

NASA’s long-lived Chandra X-ray Observatory teamed up with JWST for the first time, producing this incredibly detailed image of the famous supernova remnant Cassiopeia A. JWST first looked at the remnant in April 2023, and noticed an unusual debris structure from the destroyed star, dubbed the “Green Monster.” The combined view has helped astronomers better understand what this unusual structure is, plus it uncovered new details about the explosion that created Cas A.

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Hubble Sees a Random Collection of Galaxies, Perfectly Lined Up

A pair of interacting galaxies, one smaller than the other. Each has a bright spot at the centre and two loosely-wound spiral arms, with threads of dark dust following the arms. They appear as a broad, soft glow in which individual stars can’t be seen. A number of bright stars and smaller, background galaxies can also be seen — three such galaxies lie in a vertical line below the right-hand galaxy of the pair.
A pair of interacting galaxies, one smaller than the other. Each has a bright spot at the centre and two loosely-wound spiral arms, with threads of dark dust following the arms. They appear as a broad, soft glow in which individual stars can’t be seen. A number of bright stars and smaller, background galaxies can also be seen — three such galaxies lie in a vertical line below the right-hand galaxy of the pair.

This new image from the Hubble Space Telescope looks like a series of smaller spiral galaxies are falling out of a larger and brighter galaxy. That’s just one of the many reasons this collection of galaxies belongs to the Arp-Madore catalogue of peculiar galaxies.

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Hubble Returns to Science Operations

After a fairly brief pause in operations, the Hubble Space Telescope is back to work. Image Credit: NASA/CSA/ESA/STScI

After a brief interruption, NASA announced that the Hubble Space Telescope is back in business. Problems with one of its gyros put the Hubble into safe mode back on November 19th. Now, the issue has been dealt with, and the world’s most productive space telescope is back online.

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Hubble is Offline Because of a Problem with one of its Gyros

Hubble Space Telescope
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope flies with Earth in the background after a 2002 servicing mission. Credit: NASA.

The rich flow of scientific data—and stunning images—that comes from the Hubble Space Telescope is being interrupted by gyro problems. One of the telescope’s three remaining gyros gave faulty readings, and the Hubble automatically entered safe mode. In safe mode, science operations are suspended.

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An Epic Collaboration Between Hubble and JWST

This panchromatic view of galaxy cluster MACS0416 was created by combining infrared observations from the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope with visible-light data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Credit: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

In 2012, as part of the MAssive Cluster Survey (MACS), the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) discovered a pair of colliding galaxy clusters (MACS0416) that will eventually combine to form an even bigger cluster. Located about 4.3 billion light-years from Earth, the MACS0416 cluster contains multiple gravitational lenses that allow astronomers to look back in time and view galaxies as they appeared when the Universe was young. In a new collaboration that symbolizes the passing of the torch, the venerable Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) teamed up to conduct an extremely detailed study of MACS0416.

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Juno Spots Salts and Organic Molecules on Ganymede’s Surface

Enhanced image of Ganymede taken by the JunoCam during the mission's flyby on June 7th, 2021. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kalleheikki Kannisto

NASA’s Juno mission continues to orbit Jupiter, gathering data on its atmosphere, composition, gravitational field, magnetic field, and radiation environment. This data is helping scientists to learn more about the planet’s formation, internal structure, mass distribution, and what is driving its powerful winds. Periodically, the spacecraft also performs flybys of Jupiter’s largest satellites (the Galilean Moons), acquiring stunning images and vital data on their surfaces. These include optical and thermal images of Io’s many active volcanoes, Europa’s icy terrain, and infrared images of Ganymede.

During its last flyby of Ganymede (June 7th, 2021), Juno collected infrared images and spectra on the moon’s surface using its Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument. According to a recent study by an international team of researchers, this data revealed the presence of salt minerals and organic molecules on the icy moon’s surface. The findings could help scientists better understand the origin of Ganymede, the composition of its interior ocean, and the way material is exchanged between the surface and interior. In short, it could help scientists determine if life exists deep inside Ganymede’s ocean.

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