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Hubble Space Telescope

This is the official account for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, managed and operated by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
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Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble) Instagram photos and videos

List of Instagram medias taken by Hubble Space Telescope (@nasahubble)

Many of the best-loved galaxies in the cosmos are remarkably large, close, massive, bright, or beautiful, often with an unusual or intriguing structure or history. However, it takes all kinds to make a universe — as demonstrated by this Hubble image of Messier 110. Messier 110 may not look like much, but it is a fascinating near neighbor of our home galaxy, and an unusual example of its type. It is a member of the Local Group, a gathering of galaxies comprising the Milky Way and a number of the galaxies closest to it. Specifically, Messier 110 is one of the many satellite galaxies encircling the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest major galaxy to our own, and is classified as a dwarf elliptical galaxy, meaning that it has a smooth and almost featureless structure. Elliptical galaxies lack arms and notable pockets of star formation — both characteristic features of spiral galaxies. Dwarf ellipticals are quite common in groups and clusters of galaxies, and are often satellites of larger galaxies. Because they lack stellar nurseries and contain mostly old stars, elliptical galaxies are often considered “dead” when compared to their spiral relatives. However, astronomers have spotted signs of a population of young, blue stars at the center of Messier 110 — hinting that it may not be so dead after all. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency) Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Ferrarese et al.

20 years ago, Hubble captured this image showing the eerie, wispy tendrils of an interstellar cloud being destroyed by the star Merope, one of the brightest members in the Pleiades cluster (also known as the "Seven Sisters"). In this image, Merope itself is just outside the frame to the upper right. The colorful rays of light at the upper right, pointing back to the star, are an optical phenomenon produced within the telescope. However, the remarkable parallel wisps extending from lower left to upper right are real features, revealed for the first time through Hubble's high-resolution imaging capability. For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credit: NASA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) Acknowledgment: George Herbig and Theodore Simon (Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii)

This image, taken with Hubble, focuses on an object named UGC 695, which is located 30 million light-years away within the constellation Cetus, also known as the Whale. A bounty of diverse background galaxies is also visible in this image. UGC 695 is a low-surface-brightness (LSB) galaxy. These galaxies are so faint that their brightness is less than the background brightness of Earth’s atmosphere, which makes them tricky to observe. This low brightness is the result of the relatively small number of stars within them — most of the normal, or “baryonic,” matter in these galaxies exists in the form of huge clouds of gas and dust. The stars are also distributed over a relatively large area. LSB galaxies, like dwarf galaxies, have a high fraction of dark matter relative to the number of stars they contain. Astronomers still debate about how LSB galaxies formed in the first place. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency) Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, D. Calzetti

This new Hubble Space Telescope view of Saturn, taken in late June of 2019, reveals the giant planet's iconic rings. Saturn’s amber colors come from summer smog-like hazes, produced in photochemical reactions driven by solar ultraviolet radiation. Below the haze lie clouds of ammonia ice crystals, as well as deeper, unseen lower-level clouds of ammonium hydrosulfide and water. The planet’s banded structure is caused by winds and clouds at different altitudes. Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 observed Saturn on June 20, 2019, as the planet made its closest approach to Earth, at about 845 million miles away. For more information, visit Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Paul R. Morris (USRA): Lead Producer Music credits: "Momentum" by Guillaume Bernard [SACEM]; Killer Tracks Production Music

Its size and surface gravity are much larger than Earth’s, and its radiation environment may be hostile, but a distant planet called K2-18b has captured the interest of scientists all over the world. For the first time, researchers have detected water vapor signatures in the atmosphere of a planet beyond our solar system that resides in the "habitable zone," the region around a star in which liquid water could potentially pool on the surface of a rocky planet. Astronomers at the Center for Space Exochemistry Data at the University College London in the United Kingdom, used data from Hubble to find water vapor in the atmosphere of K2-18b, an exoplanet around a small red dwarf star about 110 light-years away in the constellation Leo. If confirmed by further studies, this will be the only exoplanet known to have both water in its atmosphere and temperatures that could sustain liquid water on a rocky surface. Liquid water would only be possible if the planet turns out to be terrestrial in nature, rather than resembling a small version of Neptune. Given the high level of activity of its red dwarf star, K2-18b may be more hostile to life as we know it than Earth, as it is likely to be exposed to more high-energy radiation. The planet, discovered by NASA's Kepler Space Telescope in 2015, also has a mass eight times greater than Earth's. That means the surface gravity on this planet would be significantly higher than on our planet. The team used archive data from 2016 and 2017 captured by Hubble and developed open-source algorithms to analyze the host star’s light filtered through K2-18b’s atmosphere. The results revealed the molecular signature of water vapor, and also suggest the presence of hydrogen and helium in the planet’s atmosphere. The authors of the paper, published in Nature Astronomy, believe that other molecules, including nitrogen and methane, may be present but they remain undetectable with current observations. Further studies are required to estimate cloud coverage and the percentage of atmospheric water present. A paper from a different team of scientists using Hubble observations has been submitted to the Astronomical Journal. Text Credit: NASA

in 2013, Hubble captured this picture of a strange asteroid called P/2013 P5, discovering that it had six comet-like tails. When Hubble viewed the asteroid again on September 23, 2013, the asteroid's appearance had totally changed. It looked as if the entire structure had swung around. One interpretation is that the asteroid's rotation rate was increased to the point where dust was falling off the surface and escaping into space, where the pressure of sunlight swept out finger-like tails. According to this theory, the asteroid's spin was accelerated by the gentle push of sunlight. The object, estimated to be no more than 1,400 feet across, had ejected dust for at least five months, based on analysis of the tail structure. For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Jewitt (University of California, Los Angeles), J. Agarwal (Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research), H. Weaver (Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory), M. Mutchler (STScI), and S. Larson (University of Arizona)

Like batches of cookies, stars are born together in groups. These star clusters, containing as many as 1 million members, evolve over time largely through a gravitational pinball where more massive stars are segregated from lower mass stars. Heavy stars tend to progressively sink toward the central region of the star cluster, while low-mass stars can escape from the system. For the first time, Hubble has been used to measure the effects of this dynamical aging on star clusters. They are all located 160,000 light-years from Earth in a satellite galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). The diminutive galaxy is an ideal target because it hosts a selection of easily observed star clusters covering a wide range of ages. Francesco Ferraro of the University of Bologna in Italy and his team used Hubble to observe five aging LMC star clusters — all born at about the same time but with different sizes — and succeeded in ranking them in terms of the level of dynamical evolution, which affects their shape. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Credits- Image: NASA and ESA Science: NASA, ESA, and F. Ferraro (University of Bologna, Italy)

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows a dwarf galaxy named UGC 685. Such galaxies are small and contain just a tiny fraction of the number of stars in a galaxy like the Milky Way. Dwarf galaxies often show a hazy structure, an ill-defined shape, and an appearance somewhat akin to a swarm or cloud of stars — and UGC 685 is no exception to this. Classified as an SAm galaxy — a type of unbarred spiral galaxy — it is located about 15 million light-years from Earth. These data were gathered under Hubble’s LEGUS (Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey) program, the sharpest and most comprehensive ultraviolet survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. LEGUS is imaging 50 spiral and dwarf galaxies in our cosmic neighborhood in multiple colors using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. The survey is picking apart the structures of these galaxies and resolving their constituent stars, clusters, groups and other stellar associations. Star formation plays a huge role in shaping its host galaxy. By exploring these targets in detail via both new observations and archival Hubble data, LEGUS will shed light on how stars form and cluster together, how these clusters evolve, how a star’s formation affects its surroundings, and how stars explode at the end of their lives. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency) Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA; the LEGUS team, B. Tully, D. Calzetti; Acknowledgment: Judy Schmidt (Geckzilla)

in 2001, a global dust storm was raging on Mars. These Hubble images show Mars on June 26, 2001, before the storm began (left), and on September 4, 2001, in the midst of the storm (right). For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credit: NASA, James Bell (Cornell Univ.), Michael Wolff (Space Science Inst.), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows NGC 5307, a planetary nebula that lies about 10,000 light-years from Earth. It can be seen in the constellation Centaurus (the Centaur), which can be seen primarily in the southern hemisphere. A planetary nebula is the final stage of a Sun-like star. As such, planetary nebulas allow us a glimpse into the future of our own solar system. A star like our Sun will, at the end of its life, transform into a red giant. Stars are sustained by the nuclear fusion that occurs in their core, which creates energy. The nuclear fusion processes constantly try to rip the star apart. Only the gravity of the star prevents this from happening. At the end of the red giant phase of a star, these forces become unbalanced. Without enough energy created by fusion, the core of the star collapses in on itself, while the surface layers are ejected outward. After that, all that remains of the star is what we see here: glowing outer layers surrounding a white dwarf star, the remnants of the red giant star’s core. This isn’t the end of this star’s evolution though — those outer layers are still moving and cooling. In just a few thousand years they will have dissipated, and all that will be left to see is the dimly glowing white dwarf. For more information, follow the link in our bio. Text credit: ESA (European Space Agency) Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Wade et al.

This striking nebula glows in the light of a dying star. The colorful, dusty structures are the outer layers of the star that it shed as it began to run out of nuclear fuel. Called NGC 2818, the nebula lies more than 10,000 light-years away. For more information on Hubble, follow the link in our bio. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

To celebrate Spitzer's 16th birthday, the Hubble Space Telescope team decided to put together a special present for their fellow "observing buddy." Hubble and Spitzer have observed many of the same astronomical objects over the years; and with Spitzer getting data from infrared, and Hubble getting data from visible, ultraviolet, and some near-infrared, the two telescopes have helped uncover some of the mysteries of the universe. For more information, visit Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / Paul Morris Music Credits: "Friends Hold Fast" by Tarek Modi [PRS]; Killer Tracks Production Music

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