All's not as it appears, this tale has many twists -
but if I wasn't here documenting the story
would that mean that the plot did not exist?

— Peter Hammill

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: 7 hours 19 min ago

Hubble Captures Crisp New Portrait of Jupiter's Storms

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 1:00pm

More massive than all the other planets combined, Jupiter truly is the king of our solar system. The swirling clouds, arranged in colorful, banded structures, change from year to year. The rich colors are produced by trace compounds in Jupiter’s predominantly hydrogen/helium atmosphere. Hurricane-force winds propel these clouds, and upwelling currents are ablaze with lightning bolts far more powerful than those seen on Earth.

The Hubble Space Telescope serves as a “weather satellite” for monitoring Jupiter’s stormy weather. The iconic Great Red Spot, a storm big enough to swallow Earth, shows that it’s shrinking a little in the Hubble images, but it still dominates the entire southern atmosphere, plowing through the clouds like a cargo ship.

Hubble astronomers patiently wait to get close-up snapshots as Earth make its nearest annual approach to Jupiter – an astronomical alignment called an opposition, when Jupiter is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun. “Closest approach” between the worlds is still on the order of nearly a half billion miles!

Categories: NASA

Hubble Observations Suggest a Missing Ingredient in Dark Matter Theories

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 2:00pm

While studying the Coma galaxy cluster in 1933, astronomer Fritz Zwicky uncovered a problem. The mass of all the stars in the cluster added up to only a few percent of the heft needed to keep member galaxies from escaping the cluster's gravitational grip. He predicted that the "missing mass," now known as dark matter, was the glue that was holding the cluster together.

Dark matter, as its name implies, is matter that cannot be seen. It does not emit, absorb, or reflect light, nor does it interact with any known particles. The presence of these elusive particles is only known through their gravitational pull on visible matter in space. This mysterious substance is the invisible scaffolding of our universe forming long filamentary structures—the cosmic web—along which galaxies form.

Even more confounding is that dark matter makes up the vast bulk of the universe's overall mass content. The stuff that stars, planets, and humans are made of accounts for just a few percent of the universe's contents.

Astronomers have been chasing this ghostly substance for decades but still don't have many answers. They have devised ingenious methods to infer dark matter's presence by tracing the signs of its gravitational effects.

One technique involves measuring how dark matter's gravity in a massive galaxy cluster magnifies and warps light from a distant background galaxy. This phenomenon, called gravitational lensing, produces smeared images of remote galaxies and occasionally multiple copies of a single image.

A recent study of 11 hefty galaxy clusters found that some small-scale clumps of dark matter are so concentrated that the lensing effects they produce are 10 times stronger than expected. These concentrations are associated with individual cluster galaxies.

Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile discovered with unprecedented detail smaller-scale distorted images of remote galaxies nested like Matryoshka dolls within the larger-scale lens distortions in each cluster's core, where the most massive galaxies reside.

This unexpected discovery means there is a discrepancy between these observations and theoretical models of how dark matter should be distributed in galaxy clusters. It could signal a gap in astronomers' current understanding of the nature of dark matter.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Observations Suggest a Missing Ingredient in Dark Matter Theories

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 2:00pm

While studying the Coma galaxy cluster in 1933, astronomer Fritz Zwicky uncovered a problem. The mass of all the stars in the cluster added up to only a few percent of the heft needed to keep member galaxies from escaping the cluster's gravitational grip. He predicted that the "missing mass," now known as dark matter, was the glue that was holding the cluster together.

Dark matter, as its name implies, is matter that cannot be seen. It does not emit, absorb, or reflect light, nor does it interact with any known particles. The presence of these elusive particles is only known through their gravitational pull on visible matter in space. This mysterious substance is the invisible scaffolding of our universe forming long filamentary structures—the cosmic web—along which galaxies form.

Even more confounding is that dark matter makes up the vast bulk of the universe's overall mass content. The stuff that stars, planets, and humans are made of accounts for just a few percent of the universe's contents.

Astronomers have been chasing this ghostly substance for decades but still don't have many answers. They have devised ingenious methods to infer dark matter's presence by tracing the signs of its gravitational effects.

One technique involves measuring how dark matter's gravity in a massive galaxy cluster magnifies and warps light from a distant background galaxy. This phenomenon, called gravitational lensing, produces smeared images of remote galaxies and occasionally multiple copies of a single image.

A recent study of 11 hefty galaxy clusters found that some small-scale clumps of dark matter are so concentrated that the lensing effects they produce are 10 times stronger than expected. These concentrations are associated with individual cluster galaxies.

Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile discovered with unprecedented detail smaller-scale distorted images of remote galaxies nested like Matryoshka dolls within the larger-scale lens distortions in each cluster's core, where the most massive galaxies reside.

This unexpected discovery means there is a discrepancy between these observations and theoretical models of how dark matter should be distributed in galaxy clusters. It could signal a gap in astronomers' current understanding of the nature of dark matter.

Categories: NASA

Hubble Observations Suggest a Missing Ingredient in Dark Matter Theories

Thu, 09/10/2020 - 2:00pm

While studying the Coma galaxy cluster in 1933, astronomer Fritz Zwicky uncovered a problem. The mass of all the stars in the cluster added up to only a few percent of the heft needed to keep member galaxies from escaping the cluster's gravitational grip. He predicted that the "missing mass," now known as dark matter, was the glue that was holding the cluster together.

Dark matter, as its name implies, is matter that cannot be seen. It does not emit, absorb, or reflect light, nor does it interact with any known particles. The presence of these elusive particles is only known through their gravitational pull on visible matter in space. This mysterious substance is the invisible scaffolding of our universe forming long filamentary structures—the cosmic web—along which galaxies form.

Even more confounding is that dark matter makes up the vast bulk of the universe's overall mass content. The stuff that stars, planets, and humans are made of accounts for just a few percent of the universe's contents.

Astronomers have been chasing this ghostly substance for decades but still don't have many answers. They have devised ingenious methods to infer dark matter's presence by tracing the signs of its gravitational effects.

One technique involves measuring how dark matter's gravity in a massive galaxy cluster magnifies and warps light from a distant background galaxy. This phenomenon, called gravitational lensing, produces smeared images of remote galaxies and occasionally multiple copies of a single image.

A recent study of 11 hefty galaxy clusters found that some small-scale clumps of dark matter are so concentrated that the lensing effects they produce are 10 times stronger than expected. These concentrations are associated with individual cluster galaxies.

Researchers using the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope in Chile discovered with unprecedented detail smaller-scale distorted images of remote galaxies nested like Matryoshka dolls within the larger-scale lens distortions in each cluster's core, where the most massive galaxies reside.

This unexpected discovery means there is a discrepancy between these observations and theoretical models of how dark matter should be distributed in galaxy clusters. It could signal a gap in astronomers' current understanding of the nature of dark matter.

Categories: NASA