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A Brief Time-Out

I find astronomy to be fascinating.

A place where you can let your imagination roam, transporting you away from the clutter of everyday life, to gaze with wonderment at remote shining elegance and mystery.

The universe is a mostly cold and empty place. Yet, throughout the vastness of space, there are objects of brilliant beauty, displayed like glistening jewels on a dark, velvet background.

Thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, we have been graced with the ability to peek into the past, and view these objects in all their splendor.

After being sidelined with numerous technical problems, the HST is back in action, better than ever, due to a successful repair and upgrade mission performed this past May.

Here are just a few early samples of the scope's new power:

recarina.jpg

The above photo is from a star-forming cloud in the Carina Nebula. The top portion of the photo was taken with the new equipment. The bottom with the old. The difference in detail is stunning.

requad.jpg

"These four images are among the first observations made by the new Wide Field Camera 3 aboard the upgraded NASA Hubble Space Telescope.

The image at top left shows NGC 6302, a butterfly-shaped nebula surrounding a dying star. At top right is a picture of a clash among members of a galactic grouping called Stephan's Quintet. The image at bottom left gives viewers a panoramic portrait of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of Omega Centauri, a giant globular cluster. At bottom right, an eerie pillar of star birth in the Carina Nebula rises from a sea of greenish-colored clouds." (Photo and explanation via HubbleSite.)

If you have some time, take a look at the link above.

The site is fascinating.


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Comments (14)

The heavens declare His han... (Below threshold)
Jeff Blogworthy:

The heavens declare His handiwork.

Oh MY GOD!!... (Below threshold)
914:

Oh MY GOD!!

Yep, any atheist can look a... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Yep, any atheist can look at those pics and say "It all happened by chance".

Screw Cancun, I want to go ... (Below threshold)
Meiji_man:

Screw Cancun, I want to go THERE

It's difficult to tell whet... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

It's difficult to tell whether it's only your imagination or your intellect as a whole that is woefully stunted, GF.

Read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Read Hawking. Just read something.

Look at that bottom left pi... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Look at that bottom left picture and tell me, without a doubt, that there is no other intelligent life out there.

We bought a telescope a couple years ago and it's amazing to just look at something like the drab moon we ignore every night as it rises. Living on the edge of town we're not so much assaulted with artificial light and we get some pretty good views. I've seen four of Jupiter's moons from my back yard. I can totally understand how some people have so easily dedicated their lives to peering through telescopes. It never gets boring.

Awesome pictures. It does m... (Below threshold)
JC Hammer:

Awesome pictures. It does make one wonder if there is other life out there. If there is, I wonder if their govt is as screwed up as ours is.

I spent about 3 hours last ... (Below threshold)
Cloudfish:

I spent about 3 hours last night looking through my 8 inch Schmidt-Cassegrain. I need a Hubble for my backyard....

I stared at the bottom left... (Below threshold)
Tim:

I stared at the bottom left picture for 10 minutes, but I still don't see the f'ing sailboat, dammit.

My goodness! It us... (Below threshold)

My goodness! It used to be just a plain blue sky from my end. Now I can see beyond! Amazing! Whoever painted these wonderful things you see up there must have known perfection! Awesome! It is sooooooooo beautiful.
Thank you for making me feel good by seeing all these.


So wheres the proof of the ... (Below threshold)
Flu-Bird:

So wheres the proof of the BIG BANG and WHERE IS ALPHA CENTARI? WHERES THE JUPITER 2?

ACtually, the bottom image ... (Below threshold)
Rand-om:

ACtually, the bottom image is infrared, from the same camera: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/multimedia/ero/index.html

In the image at bottom, taken in infrared light, the dense column and the surrounding greenish-colored gas all but disappear. Only a faint outline of the pillar remains.

I'm Breathless... (Below threshold)
MF:

I'm Breathless

I've always been fascinated... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

I've always been fascinated by space and the ocean. Heres something I just came across thats pretty interesting.

A new generation of deep-sea submarines light enough to launch from a yacht could open up the ocean's depths to amateur explorers.

More info




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