Saturday, 23 April 2016


Week's Best Space Pictures: Hubble Turns 26
By Michael Greshko,
National Geographic News, 22 April 2016.

This week, National Geographic celebrates the Hubble Space Telescope’s 26th birthday with a roundup of its best pictures from the past year, including colourful clouds, gigantic pillars, and glittering galaxies.

1. Candy-Coloured Bubble


The Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7653, is an emission nebula located 8,000 light-years away. This stunning new image, released on Thursday, was captured to celebrate Hubble’s 26th year in space.

2. Fluffy Filaments


This image of the spiral galaxy NGC 3521 isn’t out of focus. The galaxy - a flocculent spiral - has fluffy patches of stars and dust scattered throughout its disk, lending it a woolly appearance.

3. Standing Strong


These pillars of dense gas and dust surround the star cluster Westerlund 2. They are several light-years long and are thought to be incubators for new stars. Hubble made this photograph in 2015 to celebrate its 25th anniversary.

4. Beautiful Disaster


Hubble sees a planetary nebula known as NGC 6565, which formed during the death throes of a distant star. The star flung off its outermost layers, and radiation from its exposed core helped produce the brilliantly coloured cloud.

5. Hustle and Bustle


In July 2015, Hubble saw the Lagoon Nebula, which has a deceptively tranquil name: The hazy region of gas and dust is churning with intense winds blowing off hot stars and energetic star formation.

6. Centre of Attention


This infrared image shows the center of the Milky Way, 27,000 light-years away from Earth. Using infrared allows astronomers to see through the galaxy's dark, opaque dust and peer at its supermassive black hole, seen at centre.

7. In the Abstract


Most galaxies possess a majestic spiral or elliptical structure, but about a quarter instead sport messy, indefinable shapes, like the irregular galaxy NGC 5408 seen here.

8. Cosmic Opal


This bubble is a planetary nebula called NGC 6818, also known as the Little Gem Nebula. It sits roughly 6,000 light-years away in the constellation Sagittarius and is just over half a light-year wide.

[Source: National Geographic News. Edited. Some links added.]

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