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Hubble's Latest Photo Is Unbelieveable! (1 Viewer)

Peter Kline

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Hubble's new camera captures unprecedented views of the deep universe
Tue Apr 30, 4:42 PM ET
By PAUL RECER, AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON - The black of space is slashed with silvered streaks of stars as two fiery galaxies merge in a collision of giants. A massive pillar of dust glows in crimson in the glare of hot stars, and another nebula smolders in blues, pinks and reds from the light of stellar birth.
These views, never before seen in such detail, are among the first captured by a new camera on the Hubble Space Telescope (news - web sites), an instrument experts say may radically change what is known about the early and very distant universe.
The camera, called the Advanced Camera for Surveys, "is opening a wide new window onto the universe," said Holland Ford of Johns Hopkins University, leader of a team that developed the new camera.
Speaking Tuesday at a news conference where the first four views from the ACS were released, Ford said the new camera increases by 10-fold the visual sharpness of the Hubble and gives the clearest pictures ever of galaxies forming in the very early universe.
He said the new camera will look back in time and distance some 13 billion light years, giving astronomers a glimpse of the few hundred million year period when stars and galaxies were beginning to form after the Big Bang.
Ford forecast that new images from the ACS can radically change some basic understanding about how and when the stars and galaxies first formed.
One view released Tuesday shows an object, identified as UGC 10214 and dubbed the "Tadpole galaxy" because of its shape, that has a long tail of stars and gas smeared across 280,000 light years of the heavens by the gravitation force of a merging compact, blue galaxy.
The same image, taken in a fraction of the time required by the old Hubble camera, captures the light of more than 3,000 galaxies. One such galaxy, seen as a dim red dot, is shown as it was when the universe was about 10 percent of its current age, said Ford.
"The light we see left that faint red galaxy when the universe was just 1 billion years old," he said.
The ACS was installed on the Hubble during a servicing mission to the orbiting space telescope in March. Space shuttle astronauts, in a series of spacewalks, also installed new power equipment, a guidance control wheel, and a mechanical cooler on the 12-year-old Hubble.
Following a weekslong checkout, engineers found "the Hubble is back in business and works great," said Ed Weiler, the associate administrator for space science at NASA (news - web sites).
Weiler said that since Hubble was launched in April, 1990, the orbiting telescope has rewritten astronomy textbooks with new discoveries.
"It showed that some of our most closely held beliefs about the universe were plain wrong," said Weiler.
He said that Hubble's new, keener eye is expected to make even more discoveries.
An infrared camera which stopped working because it ran out of coolant in 1998 has been revived with a new "refrigerator" device that keeps the instrument at a minus 333 degrees F. Officials expect to release new images from that camera in June.
Weiler said that although Hubble was originally designed to last only 15 years, a series of servicing missions have kept the telescope working and it is now expected to last until 2010.
Go here for more photos:
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?g=e...s=&l=1&e=1&a=0
 

Todd Hochard

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Great. All that money, and they're taking pictures of space phallic symbols.:b

"The light we see left that faint red galaxy when the universe was just 1 billion years old," he said.
This gets me thinking- how far are we from the point of the "Big Bang" in terms of light years, and could they point that thing right there to see it happening.

Stuff like this, and that article about the inflationary universe in a recent Discover, make my head hurt just thinking about it.

Todd
 

Frank Anderson

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Nice picture but I would prefer to see more planet pictures. Yes our nine planets (I wonder if it can see stuff in Russia?) and others they claim to have found.
 

Joel Mack

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Isn't anything within the solar system too close for Hubble? Or am I smoking something?
 

CharlesD

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Joel,
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has been used to image objects in the solar system. There are pictures of Mars and other planets taken from by the HST (http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/PR/2001/24/), and (IIRC) the HST also took pictures of Shoemaker-Levy-9 (the comet that hit Jupiter a few years back).
The HST has more than one "camera" and the various instruments have been changed/upgraded during the Shuttle maintenance missions, so I am not sure if the same instruments that took those images is still on the HST.
the HST represents a new "golden age" of Astronomy, with it we have been able to see what was only surmised previously: star systems being formed, proto-planetary discs, the remnants of novae, colliding galaxies. Before Hubble we had only the vaguest notion of such things, and, at best, the blurriest of images of them, but with the HST we can see them with unprecedented detail. It is a dream come true!
 

Ben Osborne

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I think that planets outside of our solar system are too far for even the Hubble to see though. They don't give off their own light, so we can only infer their existence from the "wobble" of stars that they orbit.
 

Shawn C

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I like this one:
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Just being able to see multiple galaxies in one picture blows my mind. I can't fathom just how far in distance those spiral galaxies are from each other.
It's so weird to think that what we are actually seeing happened billions of years ago. I sometimes wonder how different the pictures would be if there was some way to see what happening >right now
 

Jeff Kleist

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I wish that we weren't just looking......................

Where are the Vulcans when you need them!
 

Seth Paxton

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Remember how slammed the Hubble project got when it first went up and had lens problems. The shuttle repairs/upgrades sure have fixed that - NASA gets nowhere near enough credit for their excellent work.

BTW, Discover magazine has an excellent article this last month on how the universe was probably created from nothingness, all thanks to a solid quantum mechanics theory that is not only standing up against years of scrutiny, but excels in explaining the current observed dynamics of the universe.

Literally the universe was created from particles that are in the realm of quark size, at least according to this pretty solid theory.
 

Jack Briggs

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When the Pathfinder landed on Mars, I was with a group of close friends at a gathering of space enthusiasts in Pasadena, just off the JPL "campus." SF author David Brin was present. His speech has stayed with me in a way that's almost as profound as those first images from what is still the most recent spacecraft to reach the surface of the Red Planet successfully.

The line I remember best is, "We are a great species."

This poignant image from the Hubble Space Telescope is proof positive of the human spirit.
 

BrettB

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That's a fantastic picture. It almost looks like a painting.
Ike brought up something I've always thought. The majority of pictures I've seen from the Hubble look so unreal. Does someone have a theory as to why the images have this unreal quality to them? And just to be clear, I'm not a nutjob who thinks this is all bogus. :D
 

Ashley Seymour

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I've seen from the Hubble look so unreal. Does someone have a theory as to why the images have this unreal quality to them?
The colors are enhanced and may even be changed to highlight features. I purchased a print a couple of years ago and it was part of a larger image. Framed and hung it takes on a different meaning. The presentation of the image is art and may contribute the "unreal quality."
 

Scott Strang

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That sure is gorgeous. How can anyone not love this?

If the universe was created from "nothingness" then was there anything (beyond our grasp) before "nothingness"?
 

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