Happy (Belated) 30th Birthday Hubble! (Pictures 11-20)

Horsehead Nebula in IR

As a planetarian and an astronomer, seeing a nebula like the Horsehead, close up and in dramatic detail, has always been a dream for me. The first time I found it in the sky was a particularly special moment and so seeing Hubble’s IR version literally had me saying “Wow!” out loud in my office the first time I saw the image when it was released. I used it as my computer’s desktop image for months! The clarity and detail of the IR image of the Horsehead Nebula is breathtaking. Wilhemina Fleming would be amazed at what her discovery looks like up close. Use the crossfade tool to compare the HST imagery to PanSTARRS1 3pi.

James C. Albury
Planetarium Manager - Kika Silva Pla Planetarium


A Cosmic Collison:

In an attempt to select a more obscure Hubble favorite - the galactic collision of Arp-Madore 2026-424. It is such a beautiful image and paints a picture of the fate of our Milky Way and Andromeda.

Derek Demeter
Planetarium Director - Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium


Galaxy Cluster MACS J0416

Galaxy Cluster MACS J0416 is one of the newest images Hubble has given us, and while not the most colorful it is extremely impactful. This image represents one of the clearest examples of gravitational lensing that we have. The study of gravity within astronomy has always been my favorite family of topics - I have often imagined gravity as the choreographer of the universe. You can’t see it, but it directs every dance step for every object from the smallest atom to entire galaxies. In an image like this one, it is as if we get a behind the scenes look at the choreographer in action. Use the crossfade tool to compare the HST imagery to PanSTARRS1 3pi.

Katherine Hunt M.Ed.
Planetarium Manager - Ingram Planetarium


Discover Propylds in M42, the Great Orion Nebula

In the summer of 1995, Astronomer Bob O’Dell agreed to record a segment about the Orion Nebula for an Adler Planetarium production. He arrived for the recording session very excited and carrying a large mailing tube. He unrolled a large, about 3 ft. square, photographic print while explaining that he had just received it and we were the first people other than his family to see it. He pointed out the proplyds, proto-planetary disks, that had been imaged for the very first time. Seeing deep space in this kind of detail was still extremely new and I was dumbfounded. At that moment I realized I was seeing new worlds, and also entering one at the same time.

Mark Webb
U.S. Liaison for GOTO, Inc


A new look at the Butterfly (or Bug) Nebula - NGC 6302:

When the first image was released, we immediately put it up on the dome and it was just so striking! I find it beautiful; the colors are wonderful; and I often use it as a background on my computer screen. I even used it on a banner welcoming visitors to our planetarium. It’s at the top of my list of “space is beautiful” pictures.” The new image is further amazing - a new color scheme for my favorite nebula! I love how they are finding changes in the nebula after only a decade. Use the toolbox controls (icon at the upper right) to crossfade between the newer and older Hubble images and then try changing the background to Optical Terapixel.

Amie Gallagher
Director - Raritan Valley Community College Planetarium


NGC 2392 (Eskimo Nebula)

NGC 2392 is often called the Eskimo Nebula. I always thought it had a unique look with some really nice, detailed structures. Sure there are great galaxy Hubble images. And any one of the “Deep Field” images have incredible significance. This one I just like as an art piece because of the combination of colors and form. It certainly has a sort of “sci-fi” look to it. Not to mention, for me as a fan of “Babylon 5,” I think it looks like a Vorlon. Use the crossfade tool to compare the HST imagery to the DSS imagery.

Jack Dunn
Retired from the Mueller Planetarium (but still hanging around domes)


Explore the evolution of imaging M100:

As for that old M100 image, even though it’s not the sharpest, grandest, most breathtaking image Hubble ever took, it embodies humanity’s spirit of determination and ingenuity, and for me evokes a combined sense of triumph and relief. The mirror issue was essentially fixed. A mistake had been made, a way to fix it was found, and the whole universe was ahead.

Liz Klimek
Planetarium Manager - South Carolina State Museum


An illusion of colliding galaxies in NGC 3314:

My favorites are the different flavors of Hubble Deep/Ultra Deep/Extreme Deep Fields - because they are such a compelling illustration of just how much stuff is out there in our universe. In keeping with the them e of depth of field, a more obscure favorite is NGC 3314. I loved books about optical illusions when I was a kid, and this is a really cool cosmic optical illusion, where the galaxies happen to be lined up just so, so to us here in the Milky Way, it looks like they are colliding when they are actually pretty far apart from each other - maybe as much as 20 million light years apart.

Patricia Udomprasert, PhD
Project Director - WWT Ambassadors Program, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian


“The Mice” (NGC 4676) - This was one of the first images NASA/ESA’s Hubble telescope took after upgrading to the ACS camera and it is still among my absolute favorite pictures.

It captures an instant in cosmic time as two galaxies crash into one another, making them warped and igniting new star formation. It reminds me that we are limited by time, and can only observe one instant of the entire cosmic history. This collision started long ago and it will take many hundreds of millions of years before these two galaxies finish merging.

Fil.Dr. Anna S. Arnadottir
Lund Observatory, Sweden


Time evolution of SN1987A

There are a lot of beautiful Hubble images. In fact the image gathering capabilities of KEPT me from doing my own imaging on earth for a long time. I was content looking at the data Hubble had collected until cooled CCD became affordable enough for me to collect data myself and integrate it over time in my own observatory. While I did not have the resolution or depth of Hubble, I could at least use time to make up for the lack of aperture.

Where my favorite Hubble image comes into play is how Hubble used time, not like the million seconds integrating the Ultra Deep Field, but the fact that Hubble has been in space for so long it could actually start seeing the evolution of faster cosmic processes over time and make a photo journal. This image is a collection of very small images of a distance supernova SN1987A. This shows how Hubble can use images over time to get insight in a process in a way that its location in orbit gives it special access to. It is not the most beautiful, it is not the most iconic, but it speaks to me in the way we can use the sky as a time machine, and we can use time to tell a story.

Jonathan Fay
AAS WorldWide Telescope Principal Architect