This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the (Credit: Hubble Heritage Team / ESA / NAS/Hubble Heritage Team / ESA / NASA Photo)

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672 unveils details in the galaxy's star-forming clouds and dark bands of interstellar dust. As a prototypical barred spiral galaxy, NGC 1672 differs from normal spiral galaxies, in that the arms do not twist all the way into the center. Instead, they are attached to the two ends of a straight bar of stars enclosing the nucleus. Viewed nearly face on, NGC 1672 shows intense star formation regions especially off in the ends of its central bar. Astronomers believe that barred spirals have a unique mechanism that channels gas from the disk inward towards the nucleus. This allows the bar portion of the galaxy to serve as an area of new star generation.

Photographs from the Hubble Telescope

 

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the
(Credit: Hubble Heritage Team / ESA / NAS/Hubble Heritage Team / ESA / NASA Photo)

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672 unveils details in the galaxy's star-forming clouds and dark bands of interstellar dust. As a prototypical barred spiral galaxy, NGC 1672 differs from normal spiral galaxies, in that the arms do not twist all the way into the center. Instead, they are attached to the two ends of a straight bar of stars enclosing the nucleus. Viewed nearly face on, NGC 1672 shows intense star formation regions especially off in the ends of its central bar. Astronomers believe that barred spirals have a unique mechanism that channels gas from the disk inward towards the nucleus. This allows the bar portion of the galaxy to serve as an area of new star generation.

This NASA handout image obtained on August 20,
(Credit: Getty/HO)

This NASA handout image obtained on August 20, 2009 shows an image of the Cat's Eye Nebula, made by combining data from two of NASA's Great Observatories--Chandra and the Hubble Space Telescope. Data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory revealed a bright central star surrounded by a cloud of multimillion-degree gas in the planetary nebula known as the Cat's Eye. The intensity of the X-ray emission is correlated to the brightness of the orange coloring. The intensity of X-rays from the central star was unexpected, and this is the first time astronomers have seen such emissions from the central star of a planetary nebula.

An expanding halo of light surrounds a distant
(Credit: NASA Photo via Getty Images)

An expanding halo of light surrounds a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis. The star is located about 20,000 light-years away from Earth in the direction of the constellation Monoceros, placing the star at the outer edge of our Milky Way galaxy. This image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, bears remarkable similarities to the Vincent Van Gogh work, "Starry Night," complete with never-before-seen spirals of dust swirling across trillions of kilometers of interstellar space.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a complete

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has captured a complete view of Jupiter's northern and southern auroras. Images taken in ultraviolet light by the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) show both auroras, the oval-shaped objects in the inset photos. While the Hubble telescope has obtained images of Jupiter's northern and southern lights since 1990, the new STIS instrument is 10 times more sensitive than earlier cameras. This allows for short exposures, reducing the blurring of the image caused by Jupiter's rotation and providing two to five times higher resolution than earlier cameras. The resolution in these images is sufficient to show the "curtain" of auroral light extending several hundred miles above Jupiter's limb (edge). Images of Earth's auroral curtains, taken from the space shuttle, have a similar appearance. Jupiter's auroral images are superimposed on a Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 image of the entire planet. The auroras are brilliant curtains of light in Jupiter's upper atmosphere. Jovian auroral storms, like Earth's, develop when electrically charged particles trapped in the magnetic field surrounding the planet spiral inward at high energies toward the north and south magnetic poles. When these particles hit the upper atmosphere, they excite atoms and molecules there, causing them to glow (the same process acting in street lights). The electrons that strike Earth's atmosphere come from the sun, and the auroral lights remain concentrated above the night sky in response to the "solar wind.

This is a NASA Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet-light
(Credit: L. Esposito (University of Colorado, Boulder), and NASA)

This is a NASA Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet-light image of theplanet Venus, taken on January 24 1995, when Venus was at a distance of70.6 million miles (113.6 million kilometers) from Earth.Venus is covered with clouds made of sulfuric acid, rather than thewater-vapor clouds found on Earth. These clouds permanently shroudVenus' volcanic surface, which has been radar mapped by spacecraft andfrom Earth-based telescope.At ultraviolet wavelengths cloud patterns become distinctive. Inparticular, a horizontal "Y"-shaped cloud feature is visible near theequator. Similar features were seen from Mariner 10, Pioneer Venus,and Galileo spacecrafts. This global feature might indicateatmospheric waves, analogous to high and low pressure cells on Earth.Bright clouds toward Venus' poles appear to follow latitude lines.The polar regions are bright, possibly showing a haze of smallparticles overlying the main clouds. The dark regions show thelocation of enhanced sulfur dioxide near the cloud tops. From previousmissions, astronomers know that such features travel east to west alongwith the Venus' prevailing winds, to make a complete circuit around theplanet in four days.Because Venus is closer to the Sun than Earth, the planet appears to gothrough phases, like the Moon. When Venus swings close to Earth theplanet's disk appears to grow in size, but changes from a full disk toa crescent.The image was taken with the Wide Field Planetary Camera-2, in PCmode. False color has been used enhance cloud features.

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In 1995, the majestic spiral galaxy NGC 4414

In 1995, the majestic spiral galaxy NGC 4414 was imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope as part of the HST Key Project on the Extragalactic Distance Scale. An international team of astronomers, led by Dr. Wendy Freedman of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, observed this galaxy on 13 different occasions over the course of two months. Images were obtained with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) through three different color filters. Based on their discovery and careful brightness measurements of variable stars in NGC 4414, the Key Project astronomers were able to make an accurate determination of the distance to the galaxy. The resulting distance to NGC 4414, 19.1 megaparsecs or about 60 million light-years, along with similarly determined distances to other nearby galaxies, contributes to astronomers' overall knowledge of the rate of expansion of the universe. In 1999, the Hubble Heritage Team revisited NGC 4414 and completed its portrait by observing the other half with the same filters as were used in 1995. The end result is a stunning full-color look at the entire dusty spiral galaxy. The new Hubble picture shows that the central regions of this galaxy, as is typical of most spirals, contain primarily older, yellow and red stars. The outer spiral arms are considerably bluer due to ongoing formation of young, blue stars, the brightest of which can be seen individually at the high resolution provided by the Hubble camera. The arms are also very rich in clouds of interstellar dust, seen as dark patches and streaks silhouetted against the starlight.

This stellar swarm is M80 (NGC 6093), one
(Credit: NASA)

This stellar swarm is M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy. Located about 28,000 light-years from Earth, M80 contains hundreds of thousands of stars, all held together by their mutual gravitational attraction. Globular clusters are particularly useful for studying stellar evolution, since all of the stars in the cluster have the same age (about 15 billion years), but cover a range of stellar masses. Every star visible in this image is either more highly evolved than, or in a few rare cases more massive than, our own Sun. Especially obvious are the bright red giants, which are stars similar to the Sun in mass that are nearing the ends of their lives.

Previously unseen details of a mysterious, complex structure
(Credit: NASA)

Previously unseen details of a mysterious, complex structure within the Carina Nebula (NGC 3372) are revealed by this image of the "Keyhole Nebula," obtained with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The picture is a montage assembled from four different April 1999 telescope pointings with Hubble's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, which used six different color filters. The picture is dominated by a large, approximately circular feature, which is part of the Keyhole Nebula, named in the 19th century by Sir John Herschel. This region, about 8000 light-years from Earth, is located adjacent to the famous explosive variable star Eta Carinae, which lies just outside the field of view toward the upper right. The high resolution of the Hubble images reveals the relative three- dimensional locations of many of these features, as well as showing numerous small dark globules that may be in the process of collapsing to form new stars. Two striking large, sharp-edged dust clouds are located near the bottom center and upper left edges of the image. The former is immersed within the ring and the latter is just outside the ring. The pronounced pillars and knobs of the upper left cloud appear to point toward a luminous, massive star located just outside the field further toward the upper left, which may be responsible for illuminating and sculpting them by means of its high-energy radiation and stellar wind of high-velocity ejected material. These large dark clouds may eventually evaporate, or if there are sufficiently dense condensations within them, give birth to small star clusters. The Carina Nebula, with an overall diameter of more than 200 light- years, is one of the outstanding features of the Southern Hemisphere portion of the Milky Way. The diameter of the Keyhole ring structure shown here is about 7 light-years. These data were collected by the Hubble Heritage Team and Nolan R. Walborn (STScI), Rodolfo H. Barba' (La Plata Observatory, Argentina), and Adeline Caulet (France).

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image reveals

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST) image reveals a pair of one-half light-year long interstellar "twisters," eerie funnels and twisted-rope structures in the heart of the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8) which lies 5,000 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Sagittarius. The central hot star, O Herschel 36 (lower right), is the primary source of the ionizing radiation for the brightest region in the nebula, called the Hourglass. Analogous to the spectacular phenomena of Earth tornadoes, the large difference in temperature between the hot surface and cold interior of the clouds, combined with the pressure of starlight, may produce strong horizontal shear to twist the clouds into their tornado-like appearance. Though the spiral shapes suggest the clouds are "twisting," future observations will be needed, perhaps with Hubble's next generation instruments, with the spectroscopic capabilities of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) or the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS), to actually measure velocities. These color-coded images are the combination of individual exposures taken in July and September, 1995 with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) through three narrow-band filters (red light ionized sulphur atoms, blue light, double ionized oxygen atoms, green light, ionized hydrogen).

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the
(Credit: Philip James (University of Toledo), Steven Lee (University of Colorado), NASA)

This NASA Hubble Space Telescope view of the planet Mars is the clearest picture ever taken from Earth, surpassed only by close-up shots sent back by visiting space probes. The picture was taken on February 25, 1995, when Mars was at a distance of approximately 65 million miles (103 million km) from Earth.

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In an image that scientists call the sharpest
(Credit: AP PHOTO / NASA AND HUBBLE HERITAGE TEAM)

In an image that scientists call the sharpest image ever made from Earth, the planet Mars is seen as a dynamic planet covered by frosty white water ice clouds and swirling orange dust storms above a vivid rusty landscape, in this view made by the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. Details as small as 10 miles (16 km) across can be seen. The colors have been balanced to give a realistic view of Mars' hues as they might appear through a telescope. Scientists are especially interested in the large amount of seasonal dust storm activity seen. One large storm system is churning high above the northern polar cap, top left center, with another large dust storm spilling out of the giant Hellas impact basin in Mars' Southern Hemisphere at lower right.

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of
(Credit: PHOTO COURTESY HTTP://IMGSRC.HUBBLESITE.ORG)

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of two nearly opposite sides of Mars.

This NASA image shows a close-up of the
(Credit: PHOTO BY NASA / ESA / AFP / GETTY IMAGES)

This NASA image shows a close-up of the large galaxy cluster Abell 2218. The Hubble Space telescope and the Keck telescope in Hawaii combined efforts to find farthest known galaxy (Inset) in the Universe. Located an estimated 13 billion light-years away, the object is being viewed at a time only 750 million years after the big bang, when the Universe was barely 5 percent of its current age.The primeval galaxy was identified by combining the power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and CARA's W. M. Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. These great observatories got a boost from the added magnification of a natural cosmic gravitational lens in space that further amplifies the brightness of the distant object. The newly discovered galaxy is likely to be a young galaxy shining during the end of the so-called "Dark Ages" - the period in cosmic history which ended with the first galaxies and quasars transforming opaque, molecular hydrogen into the transparent, ionized Universe we see today.

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of
(Credit: PHOTO COURTESY HTTP://IMGSRC.HUBBLESITE.ORG)

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of "dark energy."

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of
(Credit: PHOTO COURTESY HTTP://IMGSRC.HUBBLESITE.ORG)

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of Messier 64 (M64) nicknamed "Black Eye" or "Evil Eye" galaxy.

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Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of
(Credit: PHOTO COURTESY HTTP://IMGSRC.HUBBLESITE.ORG)

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of the near by dwarf galaxy NGC 1569 which is a hotbed of vigorous star birth activity.

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of
(Credit: PHOTO COURTESY HTTP://IMGSRC.HUBBLESITE.ORG)

Image taken by the Hubble space craft, of SN 1987A, the titanic supernova explosion blazed with the power of 100,000,000 suns.

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with
(Credit: EPA / NASA)

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with each other, taken from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved in this image taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The image which is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called 'dark ages,' the time shortly after the big bang.

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with
(Credit: EPA / NASA)

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with each other, taken from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved in this image taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The image which is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called 'dark ages,' the time shortly after the big bang.

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with
(Credit: EPA / NASA)

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with each other, taken from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved in this image taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The image which is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called 'dark ages,' the time shortly after the big bang.

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with
(Credit: EPA / NASA)

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with each other, taken from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved in this image taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The image which is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called 'dark ages,' the time shortly after the big bang.

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with
(Credit: EPA / NASA)

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with each other, taken from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved in this image taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The image which is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called 'dark ages,' the time shortly after the big bang.

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with
(Credit: EPA / NASA)

Panel of detailed galaxies, some in battle with each other, taken from the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF). Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved in this image taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The image which is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called 'dark ages,' the time shortly after the big bang.

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled
(Credit: EPA / NASA)

Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved in this image released taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Near Infrared Camera and Multi-object Spectrometer (NICMOS). The image which is called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called 'dark ages,' the time shortly after the big bang.

Nearly 10,000 galaxies are seen in this composite
(Credit: AP PHOTO / NASA / ESA)

Nearly 10,000 galaxies are seen in this composite image made with the Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA. This is the deepest look, named the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, into the visible universe ever; revealing a wide range of galaxies in various shapes, sizes and ages.