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:

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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.

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“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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