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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hubble's Greatest Photos

Collection of the coolest Hubble Space Telescope pictures. Nada launched the Hubble telescope in April 1990. After the problems with its main mirror were fixed, it started sending beautifully detailed images of space back to earth. Here are some of the best pictures captured by the telescope.

The Perfect Spiral. If not perfect, then this spiral galaxy is at least one of the most photogenic.

An island universe of about 100 billion stars, 32 million light-years away toward the constellation Pisces, M74 presents a gorgeous face-on view.

NGC 2818

NGC 2818 is a beautiful planetary nebula, the gaseous shroud of a dying sun-like star.

It could well offer a glimpse of the future that awaits our own Sun in about five billion years.

The Orion Nebula, M42
It's only 1,500 light-years away! It offers one of the best opportunities to study how stars are born partly because it is the nearest large star-forming region, but also because the nebula's energetic stars have blown away obscuring dust clouds.

Cat's Eye Nebula 
Staring across interstellar space, the Cat's Eye Nebula lies three thousand light-years from Earth.

One of the most famous planetary nebulae, NGC 6543 is over half a light-year across and represents a final, brief yet glorious phase in the life of a sun-like star.

Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, these fantastic, undulating shapes lie within the stellar nursery known as M17, the Omega Nebula, some 5,500 light-years away in Sagittarius

The structure occurs in our neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud, in a star-forming region near the Tarantula Nebula.

MyCn18: an hourglass nebula
The sands of time are running out for the central star of this hourglass-shaped planetary nebula.

With its nuclear fuel exhausted, this closing phase of a Sun-like star's life occurs as its outer layers are ejected - its core becoming a cooling, fading white dwarf.

Spiral Galaxy M104 (The Sombrero Galaxy)
The spiral galaxy M104 is famous for its nearly edge-on profile.

Seen in silhouette against a bright bulge of stars, the cosmic dust lanes give it a hat-like appearance, suggesting the more popular name, The Sombrero Galaxy.

Skimo Nebula, NGC 2392
In 1787, astronomer William Herschel discovered the Eskimo Nebula, NGC 2392, which resembles a person's head surrounded by a parka hood.

NGC 2207
These glowering eyes are the swirling cores of two merging galaxies called NGC 2207 and IC 2163 in Canis Major.

Billions of years from now, only one of these two galaxies will remain. Until then, they will slowly pull each other apart.

Cone Nebula
This is the Cone Nebula within the bright galactic star-forming region NGC 2264.

Some have claimed this looks like an image of Jesus Christ.

Reflection Nebula NGC 1999
Reflection nebulae do not emit light on their own. They shine because of a light source embedded within, like a street lamp illuminates fog.

The bright, young star left of center gives NGC 1999 its brightness.

Starry Night

This image is sometimes called Starry Night, a reference to the Vincent van Gogh painting. For reasons unknown, star V838 Mon's outer surface suddenly greatly expanded with the result that it became the brightest star in the entire Milky Way in January 2002.

Then, just as suddenly, it faded.

Planetary Nebula Mz3
The Ant Nebula. Expelled gas streaming away at 1,000 kilometres per second create a strange ant shape.

A huge gas and dust pillar in the Trifid Nebula, punctuated by a smaller pillar pointing up and an unusual jet pointing to the left.

IC 4406

A seemingly square nebula. IC 4406 is probably a hollow cylinder, with its square appearance caused by viewing the cylinder from the side.

The Crab Nebula
This is the mess that is left when a star explodes. The Crab Nebula is the result of a supernova seen in 1054 AD.

The Perfect Storm: Sculpted by stellar winds and radiation, these fantastic, undulating shapes lie within the stellar nursery known as M17, the Omega Nebula, some 5,500 light-years away in Sagittarius. In the nebula's centre is a pulsar: a neutron star as massive as the Sun but with only the size of a small town.

The Mice
These two galaxies are pulling each other apart. Known as The Mice because of their long tails, they will probably collide again and again until they coalesce.