"For the sage, time is only of significance in that within it the steps of becoming can unfold in clearest sequence."

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Hubblesite Newscenter

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This news collection compiles news releases and supporting materials published by the Officeof Public Outreach of the Space Telescope Science Institute, to further your knowledge of astronomy. The different news releases are organized by space telecope (Hubble, James Webb, WFIRST, etc.), and different categories (like galaxies, nebulae, planets, stars, etc.).
Updated: 39 min 44 sec ago

Riccardo Giacconi, Visionary Director of the Space Telescope Science Institute

Mon, 12/10/2018 - 4:15pm

The worldwide astronomical community mourns the loss of Riccardo Giacconi, the first permanent director of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.

Categories: NASA

New Virtual Reality Experience Highlights NASA’s Webb Space Telescope

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 10:00am

Visit the James Webb Space Telescope at its orbit point beyond the Moon, 1 million miles from Earth. Fly through the Orion Nebula and watch a planet-forming disk take shape. Explore the star fields of a simulated galaxy. Or get hands-on and fling stars into a ravenous black hole to watch them spaghettify. All of these encounters are part of the new WebbVR virtual experience.

WebbVR offers users an opportunity to immerse themselves into a variety of environments from our own solar system to distant galaxies. Information hubs provide more details about the places you visit, while simulations incorporate real physics. WebbVR is available for download from Steam, a popular VR content platform.

Categories: NASA

New Virtual Reality Experience Highlights NASA’s Webb Space Telescope

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 10:00am

Visit the James Webb Space Telescope at its orbit point beyond the Moon, 1 million miles from Earth. Fly through the Orion Nebula and watch a planet-forming disk take shape. Explore the star fields of a simulated galaxy. Or get hands-on and fling stars into a ravenous black hole to watch them spaghettify. All of these encounters are part of the new WebbVR virtual experience.

WebbVR offers users an opportunity to immerse themselves into a variety of environments from our own solar system to distant galaxies. Information hubs provide more details about the places you visit, while simulations incorporate real physics. WebbVR is available for download from Steam, a popular VR content platform.

Categories: NASA

Celebratory Galaxy Photo Honors 25th Anniversary of NASA's First Hubble Servicing Mission

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 11:00am

Over the past 28 years Hubble has photographed innumerable galaxies throughout the universe, near and far. But one especially photogenic galaxy located 55 million light-years away holds a special place in Hubble history. As NASA made plans to correct Hubble's blurry vision in 1993 (due to a manufacturing flaw in its primary mirror) they selected several astronomical objects that Hubble should be aimed at to demonstrate the planned optical fix. The magnificent grand spiral galaxy M100 seemed an ideal target that would just fit inside Hubble's field-of-view. This required that a comparison photo be taken while Hubble was still bleary-eyed. The Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1 was selected for the task. And, the picture had to be taken before astronauts swapped-out the camera with the vision-corrected Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2, in December 1993. Following the servicing mission Hubble re-photographed the galaxy again, and it snapped into crystal clear focus. The public celebrated with Hubble's triumphant return to the clear vision that had been promised. And, jaw-dropping pictures of the vast universe that followed have not disappointed space enthusiasts. Because of the astronaut servicing missions, Hubble's capabilities have only gotten better. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first servicing mission, this 2-panel photo compares the blurry, pre-servicing 1993 image to a 2009 image taken with Hubble's newer, Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, installed during the last astronaut servicing mission to the space telescope.

Categories: NASA

Celebratory Galaxy Photo Honors 25th Anniversary of NASA's First Hubble Servicing Mission

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 11:00am

Over the past 28 years Hubble has photographed innumerable galaxies throughout the universe, near and far. But one especially photogenic galaxy located 55 million light-years away holds a special place in Hubble history. As NASA made plans to correct Hubble's blurry vision in 1993 (due to a manufacturing flaw in its primary mirror) they selected several astronomical objects that Hubble should be aimed at to demonstrate the planned optical fix. The magnificent grand spiral galaxy M100 seemed an ideal target that would just fit inside Hubble's field-of-view. This required that a comparison photo be taken while Hubble was still bleary-eyed. The Wide Field/Planetary Camera 1 was selected for the task. And, the picture had to be taken before astronauts swapped-out the camera with the vision-corrected Wide Field/Planetary Camera 2, in December 1993. Following the servicing mission Hubble re-photographed the galaxy again, and it snapped into crystal clear focus. The public celebrated with Hubble's triumphant return to the clear vision that had been promised. And, jaw-dropping pictures of the vast universe that followed have not disappointed space enthusiasts. Because of the astronaut servicing missions, Hubble's capabilities have only gotten better. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the first servicing mission, this 2-panel photo compares the blurry, pre-servicing 1993 image to a 2009 image taken with Hubble's newer, Wide Field Camera 3 instrument, installed during the last astronaut servicing mission to the space telescope.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Uncovers Thousands of Globular Star Clusters Scattered Among Galaxies

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:00am

Globular star clusters are favorite targets for amateur sky watchers. To the naked eye they appear as fuzzy-looking stars. Through a small telescope they resolve into glittering snowball-shaped islands of innumerable stars crowded together. About 150 globular star clusters orbit our Milky Way, like bees buzzing around a hive. They are the earliest homesteaders of our galaxy, containing the universe's oldest known stars.

Hubble is so powerful it can see globular star clusters 300 million light-years away. And, a lot of them. Peering into the heart of the giant Coma cluster of galaxies Hubble captured a whopping 22,426 globular star clusters. The survey found the globular clusters scattered in space among the 1,000 galaxies inside the Coma cluster. They have been orphaned from their home galaxy due to galaxy near-collisions inside the traffic-jammed galaxy cluster. Because they are so numerous in the Coma cluster, they are excellent tracers of the entire gravitational field that keeps the galaxies from flinging off into space. The gravity is a tracer of the distribution of dark matter.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Uncovers Thousands of Globular Star Clusters Scattered Among Galaxies

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:00am

Globular star clusters are favorite targets for amateur sky watchers. To the naked eye they appear as fuzzy-looking stars. Through a small telescope they resolve into glittering snowball-shaped islands of innumerable stars crowded together. About 150 globular star clusters orbit our Milky Way, like bees buzzing around a hive. They are the earliest homesteaders of our galaxy, containing the universe's oldest known stars.

Hubble is so powerful it can see globular star clusters 300 million light-years away. And, a lot of them. Peering into the heart of the giant Coma cluster of galaxies Hubble captured a whopping 22,426 globular star clusters. The survey found the globular clusters scattered in space among the 1,000 galaxies inside the Coma cluster. They have been orphaned from their home galaxy due to galaxy near-collisions inside the traffic-jammed galaxy cluster. Because they are so numerous in the Coma cluster, they are excellent tracers of the entire gravitational field that keeps the galaxies from flinging off into space. The gravity is a tracer of the distribution of dark matter.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Uncovers Thousands of Globular Star Clusters Scattered Among Galaxies

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:00am

Globular star clusters are favorite targets for amateur sky watchers. To the naked eye they appear as fuzzy-looking stars. Through a small telescope they resolve into glittering snowball-shaped islands of innumerable stars crowded together. About 150 globular star clusters orbit our Milky Way, like bees buzzing around a hive. They are the earliest homesteaders of our galaxy, containing the universe's oldest known stars.

Hubble is so powerful it can see globular star clusters 300 million light-years away. And, a lot of them. Peering into the heart of the giant Coma cluster of galaxies Hubble captured a whopping 22,426 globular star clusters. The survey found the globular clusters scattered in space among the 1,000 galaxies inside the Coma cluster. They have been orphaned from their home galaxy due to galaxy near-collisions inside the traffic-jammed galaxy cluster. Because they are so numerous in the Coma cluster, they are excellent tracers of the entire gravitational field that keeps the galaxies from flinging off into space. The gravity is a tracer of the distribution of dark matter.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Uncovers Thousands of Globular Star Clusters Scattered Among Galaxies

Thu, 11/29/2018 - 10:00am

Globular star clusters are favorite targets for amateur sky watchers. To the naked eye they appear as fuzzy-looking stars. Through a small telescope they resolve into glittering snowball-shaped islands of innumerable stars crowded together. About 150 globular star clusters orbit our Milky Way, like bees buzzing around a hive. They are the earliest homesteaders of our galaxy, containing the universe's oldest known stars.

Hubble is so powerful it can see globular star clusters 300 million light-years away. And, a lot of them. Peering into the heart of the giant Coma cluster of galaxies Hubble captured a whopping 22,426 globular star clusters. The survey found the globular clusters scattered in space among the 1,000 galaxies inside the Coma cluster. They have been orphaned from their home galaxy due to galaxy near-collisions inside the traffic-jammed galaxy cluster. Because they are so numerous in the Coma cluster, they are excellent tracers of the entire gravitational field that keeps the galaxies from flinging off into space. The gravity is a tracer of the distribution of dark matter.

Categories: NASA

Behind the Scenes of Recovering NASA's Hubble

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 11:30am

In the early morning of October 27, 2018, the Hubble Space Telescope targeted a field of galaxies not far from the Great Square in the constellation Pegasus. Contained in the field were star-forming galaxies up to 11 billion light-years away. With the target in its sights, Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 recorded an image. It was the first picture captured by the telescope since it closed its eyes on the universe three weeks earlier, and it was the result of an entire team of engineers and experts working tirelessly to get the telescope exploring the cosmos once again.

Categories: NASA

STScI Astronomer Massimo Stiavelli Elected AAAS Fellow

Tue, 11/27/2018 - 11:00am

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Council has elected Massimo Stiavelli of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, and 415 other AAAS members as Fellows of the AAAS. Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers for their efforts to advance science or its applications. STScI is the science operations center for the Hubble Space Telescope, and leads science and mission operations for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which is scheduled to launch in 2021.

Dr. Stiavelli is cited by the AAAS for his pioneering work on the earliest galaxies and quasi-stellar objects, galaxy formation and evolution, and for leadership as the JWST Mission Head at STScI. Stiavelli joined STScI as an Astronomer in 1995. His research interests include galaxy structure, formation and evolution.

The new Fellows will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on February 16, 2019, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2019 AAAS annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

For more information about this announcement, visit the AAAS website.

Categories: NASA

STScI Visualizations of the Universe Form Heart of New "Deep Field" Film

Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:00am

November 16 marks the premiere of a unique film and musical experience inspired by the Hubble Space Telescope’s famous Deep Field image. It represents a first-of-its-kind collaboration between Grammy award-winning American composer and conductor Eric Whitacre, producers Music Productions, multi award-winning artists 59 Productions, and the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Deep Field: The Impossible Magnitude of our Universe features a variety of Hubble’s stunning imagery and includes 11 computer-generated visualizations of far-flung galaxies, nebulas, and star clusters developed by STScI. The film is available on YouTube and will be shared with the world through screenings and live performances around the globe.

Categories: NASA

Astronomers Find Possible Elusive Star Behind Supernova

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 1:00pm

The explosive end to a massive star's life is one of the most powerful blasts in the universe. The material expelled by the violent stellar death enriches our galaxy with heavier elements, the building blocks of new stars and even planetary systems. Astronomers have diligently searched for the doomed progenitor stars in pre-explosion images. Studying these stars could help them in their quest to better understand stellar evolution.

Their quest has turned up a few pre-supernova stars. But the doomed stars for one class of supernova have eluded discovery: the hefty stars that explode as Type Ic supernovas. These stars, weighing more than 30 times our Sun's mass, lose their hydrogen and helium layers before their cataclysmic death. Researchers thought they should be easy to find because they are big and bright. However, they have come up empty. Finally, in 2017, astronomers got lucky. A nearby star ended its life as a Type Ic supernova. Two teams of researchers pored through the archive of Hubble images to uncover the putative precursor star in pre-explosion photos taken in 2007. The supernova, catalogued as SN 2017ein, appeared near the center of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 3938, located roughly 65 million light-years away.

An analysis of the candidate star's colors shows that it is blue and extremely hot. Based on that assessment, both teams suggest two possibilities for the source's identity. The progenitor could be a single star between 45 and 55 times more massive than our Sun. Another idea is that it could have been a binary-star system in which one of the stars weighs between 60 and 80 times our Sun's mass and the other roughly 48 solar masses. In this latter scenario, the stars are orbiting closely and interact with each other. The more massive star is stripped of its hydrogen and helium layers by the close companion, and eventually explodes as a supernova.

Categories: NASA

Astronomers Find Possible Elusive Star Behind Supernova

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 1:00pm

The explosive end to a massive star's life is one of the most powerful blasts in the universe. The material expelled by the violent stellar death enriches our galaxy with heavier elements, the building blocks of new stars and even planetary systems. Astronomers have diligently searched for the doomed progenitor stars in pre-explosion images. Studying these stars could help them in their quest to better understand stellar evolution.

Their quest has turned up a few pre-supernova stars. But the doomed stars for one class of supernova have eluded discovery: the hefty stars that explode as Type Ic supernovas. These stars, weighing more than 30 times our Sun's mass, lose their hydrogen and helium layers before their cataclysmic death. Researchers thought they should be easy to find because they are big and bright. However, they have come up empty. Finally, in 2017, astronomers got lucky. A nearby star ended its life as a Type Ic supernova. Two teams of researchers pored through the archive of Hubble images to uncover the putative precursor star in pre-explosion photos taken in 2007. The supernova, catalogued as SN 2017ein, appeared near the center of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 3938, located roughly 65 million light-years away.

An analysis of the candidate star's colors shows that it is blue and extremely hot. Based on that assessment, both teams suggest two possibilities for the source's identity. The progenitor could be a single star between 45 and 55 times more massive than our Sun. Another idea is that it could have been a binary-star system in which one of the stars weighs between 60 and 80 times our Sun's mass and the other roughly 48 solar masses. In this latter scenario, the stars are orbiting closely and interact with each other. The more massive star is stripped of its hydrogen and helium layers by the close companion, and eventually explodes as a supernova.

Categories: NASA

Astronomers Find Possible Elusive Star Behind Supernova

Thu, 11/15/2018 - 1:00pm

The explosive end to a massive star's life is one of the most powerful blasts in the universe. The material expelled by the violent stellar death enriches our galaxy with heavier elements, the building blocks of new stars and even planetary systems. Astronomers have diligently searched for the doomed progenitor stars in pre-explosion images. Studying these stars could help them in their quest to better understand stellar evolution.

Their quest has turned up a few pre-supernova stars. But the doomed stars for one class of supernova have eluded discovery: the hefty stars that explode as Type Ic supernovas. These stars, weighing more than 30 times our Sun's mass, lose their hydrogen and helium layers before their cataclysmic death. Researchers thought they should be easy to find because they are big and bright. However, they have come up empty. Finally, in 2017, astronomers got lucky. A nearby star ended its life as a Type Ic supernova. Two teams of researchers pored through the archive of Hubble images to uncover the putative precursor star in pre-explosion photos taken in 2007. The supernova, catalogued as SN 2017ein, appeared near the center of the nearby spiral galaxy NGC 3938, located roughly 65 million light-years away.

An analysis of the candidate star's colors shows that it is blue and extremely hot. Based on that assessment, both teams suggest two possibilities for the source's identity. The progenitor could be a single star between 45 and 55 times more massive than our Sun. Another idea is that it could have been a binary-star system in which one of the stars weighs between 60 and 80 times our Sun's mass and the other roughly 48 solar masses. In this latter scenario, the stars are orbiting closely and interact with each other. The more massive star is stripped of its hydrogen and helium layers by the close companion, and eventually explodes as a supernova.

Categories: NASA

NASA's Webb Telescope Will Investigate Cosmic Jets from Young Stars

Wed, 11/14/2018 - 10:00am

Young stars, like young children, are messy eaters, swallowing most of the material falling onto them but spitting the rest out. The gas a newborn star fails to eat gets ejected outward at supersonic speeds, creating shock waves that heat the interstellar medium and cause it to glow in infrared light. NASA’s Webb telescope will examine stellar outflows and shocks to learn more about how stars like our sun form.

Categories: NASA