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Hubble views the Little Gem Nebula

8 August 2015 Astronomy Now

This colourful bubble is a planetary nebula called NGC 6818, also known as the Little Gem Nebula, discovered by William Herschel in 1787. It is located in the constellation of Sagittarius, roughly 6,000 light-years away from us. The rich glow of the cloud is just over half a light-year across.

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New Hubble view of the Lagoon Nebula

30 July 2015 Astronomy Now

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the Lagoon Nebula (Messier 8) an object with a deceptively tranquil name. The region is filled with intense winds from hot stars, churning funnels of gas, and energetic star formation, all embedded within an intricate haze of gas and pitch-dark dust.

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The long goodbye of a dying star

28 July 2015 Astronomy Now

A dying star’s final moments are captured in this image of planetary nebula NGC 6565 in Sagittarius from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The death throes of this star may only last mere moments on a cosmological timescale, but this star’s demise is still quite lengthy by our standards, lasting tens of thousands of years.

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A galaxy in bloom: new Hubble snap of ESO 381-12

9 July 2015 Astronomy Now

The ghostly shells of galaxy ESO 381-12 are captured here in a new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, set against a backdrop of distant galaxies. Some 270 million light-years from Earth in the constellation of Centaurus, ESO 381-12 is categorised as a lenticular galaxy — a hybrid type that shares properties with both spiral and elliptical galaxies.

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Hubble views a nitrogen-rich planetary nebula

29 June 2015 Astronomy Now

NGC 6153 in the constellation Scorpius contains up to three times the amount of neon, argon, oxygen, carbon and chlorine to be found in our Solar System, but what really sets this planetary nebula apart is the quantity of nitrogen in its clouds.

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ALMA’s detailed view of star formation in the distant universe

8 June 2015 Astronomy Now

The Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array has produced a spectacularly detailed image of a distant galaxy known as SDP.81 that is being gravitationally lensed. The image shows a magnified view of the galaxy’s star-forming regions, the likes of which have never been seen before at this level of detail in a galaxy so remote.

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Hubble observes chaotic dance of Pluto’s moons

4 June 2015 Astronomy Now

A comprehensive analysis of all available Hubble Space Telescope data shows that two of Pluto’s moons, Nix and Hydra, are wobbling unpredictably. Scientists believe the other two small moons, Kerberos and Styx, are likely in a similar situation, pending further study.

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Merging galaxies break radio silence

29 May 2015 Astronomy Now

A large Hubble survey confirms an unambiguous link between the presence of supermassive black holes that power high-speed, radio-signal-emitting jets and the merger history of their host galaxies. The results lend significant weight to the case for jets being the result of merging black holes.