Venus will pass in front of the sun from Earth’s perspective on Tuesday (June 5; Wednesday, June 6, in much of the Eastern Hemisphere), marking the last such Venus transit until 2117. However, there’s a chance to observe an Earth transit less than two years from now using a little creative thinking, some researchers note. In January 2014, Jupiter will witness a transit of Earth. And we can see it too, the astronomers say, by training NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope on the huge planet and studying the sunlight it reflects.
Four billion years from now, the Milky Way galaxy as we know it will cease to exist. Our Milky Way is bound for a head-on collision with the similar-sized Andromeda galaxy, researchers announced on May 31. Over time, the huge galactic smashup will create an entirely new hybrid galaxy, one likely bearing an elliptical shape rather than the Milky Way’s trademark spiral-armed disk. Astronomers have long known that the Milky Way and Andromeda, which is also known as M31, are barrelling toward one another at a speed of about 250,000 mph (400,000 kph).
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured the image of the spiral galaxy known as ESO 498-G5. One interesting feature of this galaxy is that its spiral arms wind all the way into the center, so that ESO 498-G5’s core looks like a bit like a miniature spiral galaxy. This sort of structure is in contrast to the elliptical star-filled centers of many other spiral galaxies, which instead appear as glowing masses. Astronomers refer to the distinctive spiral-like bulge of galaxies such as ESO 498-G5 as disc-type bulges, or pseudobulges, while bright elliptical centers are called classical bulges.
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful wide field Advanced Camera for Surveys towards NGC 891 spiral galaxy and took this close-up of its northern half. The galaxy’s central bulge is just out of the image on the bottom left. NGC 891 (also known as Caldwell 23) is a spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away in the constellation Andromeda. It was discovered by William Herschel on October 6 1784.
Astronomers are planning to use NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to observe next month’s historic transit of Venus across the sun’s face. But there’s a twist. Astronomers can’t point Hubble anywhere near the sun, because our star’s bright light could damage the telescope’s super-sensitive instruments. So Hubble will watch the June 5-6 Venus transit by using the moon as a mirror. The goal is to see if Hubble can determine the makeup of Venus’ atmosphere by studying sunlight that has poured through it.
These bright stars shining through what looks like a haze in the night sky are part of a young stellar grouping in one of the largest known star formation regions of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a dwarf satellite galaxy of the Milky Way.The LMC is the third closest galaxy to our Milky Way. It is located some 160 000 light-years away, and is about 100 times smaller than our own. The image was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Planetary Camera 2.
New photo from the Hubble Space Telescope has captured an unprecedented panoramic view of the Tarantula nebula, revealing its bright heart of massive stars. The photo is actually a colossal mosaic, one of the largest ever built from Hubble images, and shows an intense star-forming hotspot called 30 Doradus. Hubble’s science team unveiled this new image on April 17. Hubble’s new view of the region inside the Tarantula nebula shows massive stars’ winds carving cavities into gas clouds, creating a fantasy landscape of pillars, ridges and valleys.
NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured the brilliance of the compact center of Messier 70, a globular cluster. This picture was obtained with the Wide Field Camera of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. The field of view is around 3.3 by 3.3 arcminutes. Quarters are always tight in globular clusters, where the mutual hold of gravity binds together hundreds of thousands of stars in a small region of space. Messier 70 has undergone what is known as a core collapse.
The Uranus aurora photos were captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, marking the first time the icy blue planet’s light show has been seen by an observatory near Earth. Until now, the only views of auroras on Uranus were from the NASA Voyager probe that zipped by the planet in 1986. Hubble recorded auroras on the day side of Uranus only twice, both times in 2011, while the planet was 2.5 billion miles (4 billion kilometers) from Earth.