"The large-scale homogeneity of the universe makes it very difficult to believe that the structure of the universe is determined by anything so peripheral as some complicated molecular structure on a minor planet orbiting a very average star in the outer suburbs of a fairly typical galaxy."

— Steven Hawking

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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: 3 hours 27 min ago

Hubble Sees a Cosmic Flapping 'Bat Shadow'

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 10:00am

The "Bat Shadow" is the nickname Hubble astronomers gave to a huge shadow cast by a young star's planet-forming disk in 2018. Resembling a pair of wings, the striking image is actually a shadow on a more distant cloud—like a fly wandering into the beam of a flashlight shining on a wall. Now, the nickname turns out to be even more appropriate, because the team reports that those "wings" are flapping! The phenomenon may be caused by a planet pulling on the disk and warping it.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Sees a Cosmic Flapping 'Bat Shadow'

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 10:00am

The "Bat Shadow" is the nickname Hubble astronomers gave to a huge shadow cast by a young star's planet-forming disk in 2018. Resembling a pair of wings, the striking image is actually a shadow on a more distant cloud—like a fly wandering into the beam of a flashlight shining on a wall. Now, the nickname turns out to be even more appropriate, because the team reports that those "wings" are flapping! The phenomenon may be caused by a planet pulling on the disk and warping it.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Provides Holistic View of Stars Gone Haywire

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 1:00pm

For stars nearing the end of their lives, the forecast is clear: It's time for the fireworks!

Planetary nebulas, whose stars shed their layers over thousands of years, can turn into crazy whirligigs while puffing off shells and jets of hot gas. New images from the Hubble Space Telescope have helped researchers identify rapid changes in material blasting off stars at the centers of two nebulas — causing them to reconsider what is happening at their cores.

In the case of NGC 6302, dubbed the Butterfly Nebula, two S-shaped streams indicate its most recent ejections and may be the result of two stars interacting at the nebula's core. In NGC 7027, a new cloverleaf pattern — with bullets of material shooting out in specific directions — may also point to the interactions of two central stars. Both nebulas are splitting themselves apart on extremely short timescales, allowing researchers to measure changes in their structures over only a few decades.

This is the first time both nebulas have been studied from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared light, a complex, multi-wavelength view only possible with Hubble.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Provides Holistic View of Stars Gone Haywire

Thu, 06/18/2020 - 1:00pm

For stars nearing the end of their lives, the forecast is clear: It's time for the fireworks!

Planetary nebulas, whose stars shed their layers over thousands of years, can turn into crazy whirligigs while puffing off shells and jets of hot gas. New images from the Hubble Space Telescope have helped researchers identify rapid changes in material blasting off stars at the centers of two nebulas — causing them to reconsider what is happening at their cores.

In the case of NGC 6302, dubbed the Butterfly Nebula, two S-shaped streams indicate its most recent ejections and may be the result of two stars interacting at the nebula's core. In NGC 7027, a new cloverleaf pattern — with bullets of material shooting out in specific directions — may also point to the interactions of two central stars. Both nebulas are splitting themselves apart on extremely short timescales, allowing researchers to measure changes in their structures over only a few decades.

This is the first time both nebulas have been studied from near-ultraviolet to near-infrared light, a complex, multi-wavelength view only possible with Hubble.

Categories: NASA