There’s no question about it: space is a fantastic place! In effort to learn more about it, NASA launched the Hubble Space Telescope on April 24th, 1990. Since then, Hubble has sent back well over a million “observations.” Curious to see some of the most remarkable photos captured? Check out these 25 Fascinating Hubble Telescope Images You’ve Got To See!
Globular Cluster Messier 79 (M79, NGC 1904)
Located 41,000 light years away from Earth is this festive-looking Globular Cluster in the constellation Lepus. According to the HubbleSite:
“In the Hubble image, Sun-like stars appear yellow. The reddish stars are bright giants that represent the final stages of a star’s life. Most of the blue stars sprinkled throughout the cluster are aging “helium-burning” stars. These bright blue stars have exhausted their hydrogen fuel and are now fusing helium in their cores.
A scattering of fainter blue stars are “blue stragglers.” These unusual stars glow in blue light, mimicking the appearance of hot, young stars. Blue stragglers form either by the merger of stars in a binary system or by the collision of two unrelated stars in M79’s crowded core.”
White Dwarf Star Stein 2051 B
The big bright start in this photo is a White Dwarf Star, which is basically the remaining part, or the burnt out core, of a normal star. Stein 2051 B is 17 light years from Earth; the small star below it is actually 5,000 light years away, despite the fact that it might look like the two stars are much closer to each other.
The Orion Nebula is basically a nursery for new stars, located only 1,500 light years from Earth, slightly below Orion’s Belt. If the conditions are right, you can actually see this Nebula with the naked eye, with January being a being the peak month to observe it.
Crab Nebula (Black/White)
A Nebula is a giant interstellar cloud of dust and various gases. In the center of this Nebula is the core of an exploded star. The remnant of the star has the mass of the Sun compressed into a ball only a few miles across and is a 100 billion times stronger than steel. It spins 30 times a second and produces a magnetic field that generates 1 trillion volts.
A Hubble View of Supernova 1987A
Supernovas are huge final explosions of massive stars. The green ring shown in this Hubble image is the shock wave resulting from this star’s boom.
Auroras on Jupiter
Most people have seen or heard of the “northern lights” or Aurora Borealis in the northern latitudes of our planet. Auroras happen when supercharged electric particles enter the atmosphere near the poles. Now you can see that it’s not just planet Earth where this phenomenon happens.
Bubble Nebula (NGC 7635)
Did you know that stars could blow bubbles? Hubble provides proof that they do! The star, which you can see top left inside the bubble, is 45 times more massive than our sun and is located in the Cassiopeia Constellation.
This glittering star cluster is only 500,000 years old and is one of the brightest and most dazzling concentrations of stars in the Milky Way.
Nicknamed the “Whirlpool” because of its spiraling structure, this galaxy is formed by long lanes of stars, gas, and dust. It’s located about 25 million light years away in the constellation Canes Venatici.
Sample of White Dwarfs in the Hubble SWEEPS Field
SWEEPS stands for Sagittarius Window Eclipsing Extrasolar Planet Search. A group of 180,000 stars were monitored for 7 days to see if there were any planets outside our solar system that orbit a star. This photo shows samples of White Dwarf stars within that window. White Dwarfs are stellar core remnants with the mass similar to the Sun but the volume of the Earth.
Veil Nebula Supernova Remnant
This wispy and beautiful photo shows the gassy remains of a star that was 20 times more massive than our Sun.
This photo was chosen as the official 25th Hubble anniversary image. It shows a cluster of about 3,000 young stars flaring to life. It’s located 20,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Carina.
2014 Hubble WFC3/IR Image of M16 (Cropped)
Also known as the Eagle Nebula, M16 contains the Pillars of Creation, which have all the necessary materials to birth new stars. It’s located 6,500 light-years away in the Sagittarius-Carina arm of the Milky Way in the constellation of Serpens.
Nebula NGC 5189
This image is nicknamed “A Cosmic Holiday Ornament, Hubble-Style.” It’s easy to see why as the gases from this nebula look like a crystiline glass ornament, complete with ribbon.
A Multi-Wavelength View of Radio Galaxy Hercules A
At the center of this elliptical galaxy is a supermassive black hole that is 1,000 times more massive than the black hole in the Milky Way. This galaxy, 3C 348 is the brightest radio-emiting object in the constellation Hercules. It emits a billion times more power in radio waves than our Sun. The red jets in the photo reflect the supermassive black hole’s gravitational energy.
Chance Alignment Between Galaxies Mimics a Cosmic Collision
It may look like these two galaxies are colliding, but in reality they are separated by tens of millions of light years.
In this image, a quasar is acting as a lens to show a galaxy farther away. The arc to the top right of the bright center shows the gravitational ring of the distant galaxy.
Star-Forming Region S106
In a relatively isolated part of the Milky Way, about 2,000 light years from us, is a huge bipolar star forming region. It’s so huge that the nebula measures several light years in length. Plus it just looks really awesome…like a majestic angel surrounded by massive twinkling stars.
A "Rose" Made of Galaxies Highlights Hubble's 21st Anniversary
This breathtaking image stood as the Hubble’s 21st anniversary shot. It shows two galaxies interacting with each other in such a way to create what looks like a rose. The rosebud shape of the top galaxy is actually created by the gravitational tidal pull of the bottom galaxy.
What makes this photo of the spiral galaxy NGC 5584 so neat are the brilliant blue stars lining the dust lines. Those blue stars are young stars, whereas the yellow core contains older stars. Look closely; notice those red dots sprinkled throughout the picture? Those are mostly other galaxies!
Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841
Located 46 million light years away in Ursa Major, aka The Great Bear, Spiral Galaxy NGC 2841 spirals out from a brilliantly bright star.
Hubble NICMOS Infrared Image of M51
Here is another photo of the spectacular M51 Galaxy, the Whirlpool Galaxy (see#17). It was actually the first galaxy to be classified as a spiral galaxy. As the title states, this is an infrared shot of this remarkable galaxy.
Omega Centauri - WFC3
This photo captures a mere portion of Omega Centauri, which contains roughly 10 million stars. Stars in this area of the galaxy are between 10 and 12 billion years. This cluster lies around 16,000 light years away.
Saturn's Double Light Show
Auroras happen on Saturn too. The unique thing about this image, in addition to the auroras, is that the window to capture such as shot is a pretty small. It takes Saturn 30 years to orbit the Sun, and the opportunity to capture both poles at the same time only happens twice in that time.
Butterfly Emerges from Stellar Demise in Planetary Nebula NGC 6302
Located about 3,800 light years away, in the constellation Scorpius, the glowing gasses emerging from a dying star spread out like a extra-terrestrial butterfly.
Feature: NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI), 25. NASA and ESA, Acknowledgment: S. Djorgovski (Caltech) and F. Ferraro (University of Bologna), 24. NASA, ESA, and K. Sahu (STScI), 23. NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team, 22. NASA and ESA; Acknowledgment: M. Weisskopf (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center), 21. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Angelich (NRAO/AUI/NSF); Hubble Credit: NASA, ESA, and R. Kirshner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation), 20. NASA, ESA, and J. Nichols (University of Leicester); Acknowledgment: A. Simon (NASA/GSFC) and the OPAL team, 19. NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 18. NASA, ESA, and J. Maíz Apellániz (Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain); Acknowledgment: N. Smith (University of Arizona), 17. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 16. NASA, ESA, A. Calamida and K. Sahu (STScI), and the SWEEPS Science Team, 15. NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 14. NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), and the Westerlund 2 Science Team, 13.NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 12. NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 11. NASA, ESA, S. Baum and C. O’Dea (RIT), R. Perley and W. Cotton (NRAO/AUI/NSF), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 10. Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and W. Keel (University of Alabama), 9. NASA, ESA, and F. Courbin (EPFL, Switzerland), 8. NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 7. NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 6. NASA, ESA, A. Riess (STScI/JHU), L. Macri (Texas A&M University), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), 5. NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration; Acknowledgment: M. Crockett and S. Kaviraj (Oxford University, UK), R. O’Connell (University of Virginia), B. Whitmore (STScI), and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee, 4. NASA, ESA, M. Regan and B. Whitmore (STScI), and R. Chandar (University of Toledo), 3. NASA, ESA, and J. Anderson and R. van der Marel (STScI), 2. NASA, ESA, and Jonathan Nichols (University of Leicester), 1. NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team