Light continues to echo three years after stellar outburst

The Hubble Space Telescope’s image from 2005 of the star V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) reveals dramatic changes in the illumination of surrounding dusty cloud structures. The effect, called a light echo, has been unveiling never-before-seen dust patterns ever since the star suddenly brightened for several weeks in early 2002.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI)

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has revisited one of its most iconic and popular images: the Eagle Nebula’s Pillars of Creation. Here’s a new amazing view of them in infrared light, allowing to break through obscuring dust and gas.

And here are the pillars as seen in visible light:
Credit: NASA, ESA/Hubble & the Hubble Heritage Team


NASA confirms there’s an ocean on Jupiter’s moon Ganymede  

'Almost everywhere we look there's water.'

“The largest moon in our solar system is hiding an ocean under its surface, according to observations made with the Hubble Space Telescope. Aurorae spotted by the telescope, confirmed the long-standing theory, and the findings were announced during a NASA teleconference this morning. The news comes just a day after we found out that Enceladus, an icy moon of Saturn, likely has hydrothermal activity in its own subsurface ocean.

Scientists have speculated since the 1970s that Ganymede could have such an ocean. Until now, though, the only evidence was collected during brief flybys with the Galileo spacecraft in the early 2000s. That left too much ambiguity in the data for NASA scientists to comfortably confirm the ocean’s existence.”

Fairly stable aurorae indicate a massive, salty ocean

“With Hubble, the scientists were able to collect over seven hours of data; most of that time was spent studying the aurorae seen in the moon’s thin atmosphere. An aurora is the colorful result of charged particles interacting with an atmosphere — so just the existence of one doesn’t mean there’s an ocean. But oceans do change the behavior of aurorae. If there was no ocean on Ganymede, the aurorae would rock back and forth across about six degrees of the moon’s circumference as it orbited Jupiter. The presence of a salty, electrically conductive ocean locks the aurorae in a much more stable position: According to the observations, they only move about two degrees. While the Hubble telescope made its observations in the UV spectrum, casting the aurorae in blue, they would actually appear red if you were to stand on the surface of Ganymede.”

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A Patchwork of Galaxies - Halfway to the Edge of our Universe

In this image we see more than halfway to the edge of the observable Universe. This image is the result of 14 hour exposure of the Hubble Space telescope. Many of the objects are galaxies within this image are clusters about 5 billion light years away. The light from quasar QSO-160913+653228 took nine billion years to reach us and allows us to observe time on a truly cosmic scale. 

Credit: NASA,ESA,Hubble

Surrounded by clouds of interstellar gas and dust - the raw material for new star formation - cluster NGC 3603 is located 20,000 light-years away in the constellation Carina. Ultraviolet radiation and violent stellar winds have blown out an enormous cavity in the gas and dust enveloping the cluster, providing an unobstructed view of the cluster. Star clusters like NGC 3603 provide important clues to understanding the origin of massive star formation in the early, distant universe. Astronomers also use massive clusters to study distant starbursts that occur when galaxies collide, igniting a flurry of star formation. 

(Credit: NASA, ESA, R. O’Connell (University of Virginia), F. Paresce (National Institute for Astrophysics, Bologna, Italy), E. Young (Universities Space Research Association/Ames Research Center), the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and the Hubble Heritage Team)