Hubble Space Telescope captures stunning images of Bubble Nebula
To celebrate its 26th anniversary in space, Hubble Space Telescope released the magnificent images of a ‘gigantic cosmic soap bubble’ called Bubble Nebula or, as known among the field experts, NGC 7635.
This cloud of interstellar star dust and gases was first discovered in 1787. However, given its enormous size, this space-wonder could only be photographed in portions.
The new image above is a mosaic of four images taken by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3.
The glowing star in the centre of the nebula is considered to be 10 to 20 times larger in mass than our sun. The nebula’s bubble-like form is a result of the strong stellar winds pushing gas and dust to form a sphere.
The spacecraft Discovery carrying the telescope lifted off from Earth on 24 April in 1990. Each year, the Hubble Space Telescope releases spectacular images of deep space wonders to commemorate its launch anniversary.
Here are a few older images from Hubble:
Westerlund 2 was released to celebrate Hubble’s 25th year in the orbit and a quarter of a century of new discoveries, stunning images and outstanding scientific revelations.
The star cluster at the centre of the image blends visible-light data taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys and near-infrared exposures taken by the Wide Field Camera 3. The surrounding region is composed of visible-light observations taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Monkey Headed Nebula
This colourful Hubble Space Telescope mosaic called Monkey Headed Nebula, released on the 24th anniversary, unveils a collection of carved knots of gas and dust silhouetted against glowing gas. The cloud is sculpted by ultraviolet light eating into the cool hydrogen gas.
As the interstellar dust particles are warmed by the radiation from the stars in the centre of the nebula, they heat up and begin to glow at infrared wavelengths.
Pillars of Creation
This breathtaking image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope is called the ‘Pillars of Creation’. The more recent image (2014) is more refined than the image shot in 1995. The three giant columns are made out of cold gas bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young, massive stars in a small region of the Eagle Nebula or M16.
And guess what, if the height of a column is quantified, the distance between top to bottom would be four light years! That is, the distance from earth to its nearest star Alpha Centauri!
Rose made of galaxies
This image of a pair of interacting galaxies called Arp 273 was released to celebrate the telescope’s 21st anniversary.
The distorted shape of the larger of the two galaxies shows signs of tidal interactions with the smaller of the two. It is thought that the smaller galaxy has actually passed through the larger one.
Butterfly emerges from stellar demise
This celestial wonder resembles our backyard butterfly.
The dainty butterfly wings are actually roiling cauldrons of gas heated to nearly 20,000 degrees Celsius! The gas tears across space at more than 9,50,000 kilometres per hour—that’s Earth to the Moon in 24 minutes!
She is called Bug Nebula or Butterfly Nebula and lies around 3,800 light years away from home. Her butterfly wings stretch more than two light years!
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