The Orion Nebula is 1,500 light years from Earth and is located in Belt of Orion in the constellation Orion. It is one of the brightest nebulae, and on a clear dark night it is visible to the naked eye. The nebula is the closest star-forming region to Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990.
Hubble has given us many images of our neighboring Mars. This image was taken in 2003 when Mars made its closest approach in nearly 60,000 years. On August 27, 2003, the two worlds were only 55 million kilometers apart from center to center. By contrast, Mars may be about 400 million kilometers from Earth.
Hubble took this image in 2007 of Ganymede that appeared to peek out from under Jupiter. Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and is even bigger than Mercury.
Hubble captured this image of Saturn in 2004, a sight so sharp that some of the planet’s smallest rings are visible.
Hubble tracked the clouds on Uranus in this image taken in 1997. The image is a composite of three near-infrared images. The planet’s rings are prominent in the near infrared. In both images you can see eight of the 27 moons of Uranus. Uranus is about 1.75 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble captured this image of the distant blue-green world of Neptune in 2005. Fourteen different colored filters were used to help scientists learn more about Neptune’s atmosphere. Neptune is about 2.8 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble discovered four of Pluto’s five moons. In 2005: Nix and Hydra met. Hubble discovered Kerberos in 2011 and Styx in 2012. The new discoveries were joined by Pluto’s large moon, Charon, which was discovered in 1978. Styx was found by scientists using Hubble to search for potential dangers to the New Horizons spacecraft that flew by. Pluto in July 2015 Pluto is about 2.9 billion miles from Earth.
The iconic Horsehead Nebula is a favorite target of astronomers. Look closely and you will see what looks like a horse’s head soaring towards the stars. This Hubble image captures the nebula at infrared wavelengths. The nebula is 1,600 light years from Earth.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula is a group of glowing gases blasted into space by a dying star. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows details of structures including high-speed jets of gas and unusual knots of gas. This color image is a combination of three images taken at different wavelengths. The nebula is estimated to be 1,000 years old. It is about 3,000 light years from Earth in the constellation Draco.
The Insect or Butterfly Nebula looks like a butterfly with its wings spread across the galaxy. It is actually a cloud of turbulent gas poured out by a dying star. Scientists say the gas is over 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit and expanding into space at over 600,000 miles per hour. This image was taken with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, a camera installed on Hubble during its May 2009 update by shuttle astronauts. The nebula is about 3,800 light years distant in the constellation Scorpius.
Astronomers combined several Hubble images taken in 2014 to create an enhanced view of Hubble’s iconic 1995 “Pillars of Creation” image. The new image shows a wider view of the pillars, which extend about 5 light-years high. The pillars are part of a small region of the Eagle Nebula, which is located about 6,500 light years from Earth.
This huge nebula is located 7,500 light years from Earth in the constellation of Carina. It is one of the largest and brightest nebulae and is a hotbed for new stars. It also has several stars estimated to be at least 50 to 100 times the mass of our Sun, including Eta Carinae, one of the brightest stars known and one of the most massive stars in the Milky Way.
One of the closest neighbors to our own Milky Way, the Andromeda Galaxy, can be seen with the naked eye if you know where to look on a clear, dark night. In 2012, scientists using Hubble data predicted that Andromeda would collide with the Milky Way in about four billion years. Andromeda is 2.5 million light years from Earth.
The cigar galaxy is 12 million light years away. It gets its name from its shape: from Earth it looks like an elongated elliptical disk.
It’s called one of the most photogenic galaxies – the Sombrero Galaxy looks like the giant wide brim of a Mexican sombrero sitting among the stars. It can be detected with a small telescope. It is about 28 million light years from Earth.
This group of galaxies is located about 290 million light years from Earth. It is named after its discoverer, the French astronomer Edouard Stephan, who first saw it in 1877.
Hubble captured this image of an interacting group of galaxies called Arp 273. The largest galaxy has a central disk that is distorted into a rose shape by the pull of its partner below.
In 2004, astronomers revealed the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever taken to date. Called the Hubble ultra-deep field, the million-second exposure shows the first galaxies to emerge shortly after the Big Bang. The image shows about 10,000 galaxies. In 2012, astronomers assembled an improved image called the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field. It combined 10 years of Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky in the center of Hubble’s original ultra-deep field. The new image contains about 5,500 galaxies.
This 2018 Hubble image shows the Lagoon Nebula, a chaotic nursery full of baby stars. In the center of this image, a young star 200,000 times brighter than our sun emits ultraviolet radiation.
Even stars like to blow bubbles. This 2016 image shares Hubble’s view of the Bubble Nebula, where a massive superhot star is blowing a giant bubble into space. The nebula is 7 light years across.
The Cone Nebula is a turbulent pillar of gas and dust that forms stars. It is 7 light years long, but this image taken by Hubble in 2002 shows the top 2.5 light years (which is equivalent to 23 million round trips to the moon). Ultraviolet radiation causes hydrogen gas to emit a mysterious red glow.
This is a detailed view of the section of a slowly expanding supernova or the remnants of an exploded star. Hubble took this image in 2015 of the Veil Nebula 2,100 light-years away. The star was once 20 times more massive than our sun, but only wisps of gas remain.
In 2009, NASA’s Great Observatories, including Hubble along with the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, combined their powers of observation to create this unprecedented composite image of the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Here you can see infrared and X-ray light captured by telescopes. Hubble’s contributions are in yellow, Spitzer’s observations are in red, and Chandra’s are blue and purple.
Hubble also partnered with Spitzer to create this stunning image of the Orion Nebula in 2006. The image combines visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light. A community of massive stars is represented by yellow in the heart of the image.
Hubble captured this view of an expanding halo of light around the star V838 Monocerotis in 2004.
M83 is a nearby spiral galaxy, and this 2014 Hubble image shows its thousands of star clusters and supernova remnants. Young stars can be seen in pink bubbles of hydrogen gas.
This infrared light image taken by Hubble in 2014 shows the Monkey Head Nebula, where star birth occurs 6,400 light-years away from us. Clouds of dust and glowing gas swirl here, representing the ingredients for star formation.
This ultraviolet light observation of the giant star Eta Carinae was taken by Hubble in 2019. The star is the larger of the two that orbit each other. It is known to have violent outbursts, as evidenced by the bubbles here.
Fireworks are even more beautiful in space. Hubble captured this image of a giant cluster of 3,000 stars in 2015. It is called Westerlund 2, located 20,000 light-years away from Earth.