Tag Archives: Hubble

New and improved Hubble

By now, you probably all know that the Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after its repairs in May. (Notwithstanding its imaging of the Jupiter impact in July, which was done by taking time out of its calibration phase.) The repairs did not merely replace aging instruments, but replaced them with better instruments incorporating advances in technology. It shows, with recently released images revealing more details than ever before. And what's more is that each image requires a lot less time to be taken, which means more observations can be done by Hubble.

As an example of how much the Hubble Space Telescope has improved, compare images of NGC 6302, the Butterfly Nebula, taken before and after the repairs:

Before

Before

After

After

Hubble's 19th anniversary

To celebrate the 19th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope this week, a stunning picture of two galaxies merging has been released. The merging galaxies are in the upper parts of the image, and they have an impressive trail of blue star-forming regions. Remarkably, the galaxy in the bottom of the picture is not merging with any of the galaxies in the upper part of the picture: it just happens to be in the background. This would have been hard to tell without the resolution of the Hubble Space Telescope, which reveals dust clouds around the trail that obscures the galaxy in the background.

Arp 194 and its cosmic fountain
Arp 194 and its cosmic fountain

Ganymede going behind Jupiter

The Hubble Space Telescope had taken a beautiful image of the Jupiter's largest moon Ganymede going behind Jupiter on April, 2007. It's the sort of picture I would have expected to have been taken by Galileo or the upcoming Juno as they approach the planet, not from a telescope so far away from Jupiter, which just shows how incredible the eighteen year-old space telescope is. Of course, while I would be happy with Hubble taking pretty pictures for the sake of pretty pictures, those in charge of Hubble want more bang for their buck, and scientists hope to learn more about Jupiter's atmosphere as light reflected off of Ganymede passes through the planet's atmosphere.

Ganymede going behind Jupiter

Hubble is back in the running

Interacting galaxies
Interacting galaxies

The Hubble Space Telescope gave us a bit of a scare when one of its networking equipment broke down and even the backup system looked like it failed. So it's great news that the backup system is back in shape, which they checked out by getting images of two interacting galaxies and having the telescope sending them to us. It also means that the servicing mission to the Hubble is back on track. Not too bad for an eighteen-year old space telescope ...