Hubble took this image of the rare blue variable star AG Carinae, located 20,000 light years from Earth in the Milky Way galaxy, to celebrate the 31st anniversary of its launch. The star experienced several explosions that created her distinctive halo.
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 region of star formation closest to Earth.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched from Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990.
Hubble has given us many images of our neighbor 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 34.6 million kilometers from center to center. In contrast, Mars can be around 249 million kilometers from Earth.
Hubble took this image in 2007 of Ganymede appearing to peek under Jupiter. Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system, and it is even larger than Mercury.
Hubble captured this image of Saturn in 2004, a view so sharp that some of the planet’s smallest rings are visible.
Hubble has been tracking clouds over Uranus in this image taken in 1997. The image is a composite of three near infrared images. The rings of the planet are prominent in the near infrared. Eight of the 27 moons of Uranus are visible in both images. Uranus is approximately 1.75 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble captured this image of the distant blue-green world of Neptune in 2005. Fourteen different color filters were used to help scientists learn more about Neptune’s atmosphere. Neptune is approximately 2.8 billion miles from Earth.
Hubble discovered four of Pluto’s five moons. In 2005: Nix and Hydra were found. Hubble discovered Kerberos in 2011 and Styx in 2012. The new discoveries joined Pluto’s large moon, Charon, which was discovered in 1978. Styx was found by scientists using Hubble to research potential dangers to the New spacecraft Horizons which flew by Pluto in July 2015. Pluto is approximately 2.9 billion miles from Earth.
The iconic Horse’s Head nebula is a favorite target for astronomers. Look closely and you will see what a horse’s head looks like when it rises in the stars. This Hubble image captures the nebula in infrared wavelengths. The nebula is 1,600 light years from Earth.
The Cat’s Eye Nebula is a group of glowing gases blown into space by a dying star. This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows details of structures, including high-speed gas jets and unusual knots of gas. This color image is a composite of three images taken at different wavelengths. The nebula is estimated to be 1,000 years old. It is located approximately 3000 light years from Earth in the constellation Draco.
The insect, or butterfly nebula, resembles a butterfly with its wings extending across the galaxy. It is actually a bubbling cloud of gas thrown by a dying star. Scientists say the gas measures over 36,000 degrees Fahrenheit and travels through space at over 600,000 miles per hour. This image was taken with the Hubble Wide Field Camera 3, a camera installed on Hubble when it was upgraded in May 2009 by shuttle astronauts. The nebula is approximately 3,800 light years away in the constellation Scorpio.
Astronomers combined several Hubble images taken in 2014 to create an enhanced view of Hubble’s iconic “Pillars of Creation” image in 1995. The new image shows a larger view of the pillars, which span approximately 5 light years high. The pillars are part of a small region in the Eagle Nebula, about 6,500 light years from Earth.
This huge nebula is 7,500 light years from Earth in the constellation Carina. It is one of the largest and brightest nebulae and a nursery 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 data from Hubble 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 takes its name from its shape: from the Earth, it looks like an elongated elliptical disc.
It’s called one of the most photogenic galaxies: the Sombrero galaxy resembles the giant wide brim of a Mexican hat sitting among the stars. It can be spotted using a small telescope. It is about 28 million light years from Earth.
This group of galaxies is approximately 290 million light years from Earth. It is named after its discoverer, the French astronomer Edouard Stephan, who first spotted it in 1877.
Hubble captured this image of a group of interacting galaxies called Arp 273. The larger galaxy has a central disk that is distorted into a rose shape by the pull of its partner below.
In 2004, astronomers unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever made. Called the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, the million-second exhibit shows the first galaxies to emerge shortly after the Big Bang. The image shows approximately 10,000 galaxies. In 2012, astronomers assembled an improved image called the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field. He combined 10 years of Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky in the center of the original Hubble Ultra-Deep Field. The new image contains approximately 5,500 galaxies.
This Hubble image from 2018 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 is projecting ultraviolet rays.
Even the stars like to bubble. This 2016 image shares Hubble’s take on the Bubble Nebula, where a massive, super hot star blows a giant bubble into space. The nebula is 7 light years in diameter.
The Cone Nebula is a turbulent pillar of gas and dust forming stars. It is 7 light years long, but this image taken by Hubble in 2002 shows the first 2.5 light years (equivalent to 23 million round trips to the moon). Ultraviolet radiation causes hydrogen gas to emit a strange red glow.
This is a detailed look at the section of a slowly expanding supernova or the remains 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 as massive as our sun, but only gas trails remain.
In 2009, major NASA observatories, including Hubble, 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. The infrared and X-ray light captured by the telescopes can be seen here. Hubble’s contributions are in yellow, Spitzer’s observations are in red, and Chandra’s are in 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 the yellow at the heart of the image.
Hubble captured this view of an expanding halo of light around the V838 Monocerotis star in 2004.
M83 is a nearby spiral galaxy, and this 2014 Hubble image features 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 gases swirl here, representing the ingredients to form stars.
This ultraviolet light observation of the giant star Eta Carinae was taken by Hubble in 2019. The star is the larger of two that orbits each other. It is known to have violent explosions, as evidenced by the bubbles here.
Fireworks are even more beautiful in space. Hubble captured this image of a giant 3,000 star cluster in 2015. It’s called Westerlund 2, located 20,000 light years from Earth.