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Cosmos Snaps Into Dazzling Focus With Hubble Upgrade

Spending 25 years in orbit allows the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope investigators a huge advantage: they can watch the sky change over time. See how some of Hubble’s most famous pictures evolved, particularly after astronauts on the last shuttle visit (in 2009) installed the Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys on the telescope.

See the photos here!

Space is pretty. Astronomers were just testing out a camera when they captured the closest-ever look at Orion’s Belt. 

It was taken with an advanced imaging and spectroscopic tool that records in infrared light. By going through barriers like dust and clouds, it can show details that aren’t visible to the human eye, or even the Hubble Space Telescope. 

This image is really a composite of two photos with some coloration to distinguish formations and temperature zones. Hot stars are white or blue, cooler areas are in red and orange, and the crimson patch shows jets of gas from stars in the process of being born. 

Learn more about the photos and how scientists are using them for research here.

Spiral galaxy ESO 137-001

This image shows spiral galaxy ESO 137-001, framed against a bright background as it moves through the heart of galaxy cluster Abell 3627.

The image not only captures the galaxy and its backdrop in stunning detail, but also something more dramatic — intense blue streaks streaming outwards from the galaxy, seen shining brightly in ultraviolet light.

These streaks are in fact hot, wispy streams of gas that are being torn away from the galaxy by its surroundings as it moves through space. This violent galactic disrobing is due to a process known as ram pressure stripping — a drag force felt by an object moving through a fluid.

Credit: NASA, ESA
Acknowledgements: Ming Sun (UAH), and Serge Meunier