With engineers working to restore the Hubble Space Telescope to normal operation after a computer glitch, here’s a reminder of what the observatory has been bringing back to Earth over the past three decades: riveting, razor-sharp views of deep space targets. This image of NGC 330, an open star cluster in the Small Magellanic Cloud, was captured by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3. It incorporates data from two studies, one focused on stellar evolution and the other on how large stars can become before exploding as supernovae. Discovered in 1826 by Scottish astronomer James Dunlop, NGC 330 is about 180,000 light years from Earth in the southern constellation Tucana.
Five years ago, the Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to three astronomers for their discovery, in the late 1990s, that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. Now, a team of scientists led by Professor Subir Sarkar of Oxford University’s Department of Physics has cast doubt on this standard cosmological concept.
A composite image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows a dramatic range of color in galaxy NGC 3344, a weakly barred spiral half the size of the Milky Way some 20 million light years away in the constellation Leo Minor. Hot young stars, seen in blue, populate the spiral arms along with glowing red clouds of gas and dust that provide the raw materials for new suns.