The galaxy NGC 691 in the constellation Aries presents a stunning target for the Hubble Space Telescope, showing off near perfect spiral arms wrapped tightly around a brilliant core. Discovered by William Herschel in November 1786, NGC 691 is about 120 million light years from the Milky Way and measures some 130,000 light years across. A type 1a supernova, a class used as “standard candles” in surveys supporting the discovery of dark energy, was detected in NGC 691 in 2005.
The sharpest, most detailed observations of a comet breaking apart have been captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The images suggest that the roughly 4.5-billion-year-old comet, named 332P/Ikeya-Murakami, may be spinning so fast that material is ejected from its surface. The resulting debris is now scattered along a 3,000-mile-long trail.
Earth came early to the party in the evolving universe. According to a new theoretical study, when our solar system was born 4.6 billion years ago only eight percent of the potentially habitable planets that will ever form in the universe existed. And, the party won’t be over when the Sun burns out in another 6 billion years. The bulk of those planets — 92 percent — have yet to be born.
A sequence of images taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows rotation of Comet 252P/LINEAR on 4 April 2016, roughly two weeks after the icy visitor came within 3.3 million miles of Earth, or about 14 times the distance between our planet and the Moon. These observations also represent the closest celestial object Hubble has observed, other than the Moon.