On 09/09/09, NASA unveiled a new set of images and observations from four of the six operating science instruments on board of the Hubble Space Telescope. With the exception of the image of Jupiter released in July 2009, these were the first pictures released since new instruments were installed during the space shuttle servicing mission in May 2009.
Hubble has been in operation for 19 years now. According to Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington: “The telescope was given an extreme makeover and now is significantly more powerful than ever, well-equipped to last into the next decade.” As the new instruments installed in May are more sensitive to light, they will improve Hubble’s observing efficiency significantly.
The montage below included observations made with the new Wide Field Camera 3:
Top left: NGC 6302, a butterfly-shaped nebula surrounding a dying star.
Top right: clash among members of a galactic grouping called Stephan’s Quintet
Bottom left: 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of Omega Centauri, a giant globular cluster
Bottom right: a pillar of star birth in the chaotic Carina Nebula rises from a sea of greenish-colored clouds.
Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team
About Hubble Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. Goddard Space Flight Center manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute conducts Hubble science operations. The institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc. in Washington, and is an International Year of Astronomy 2009 program partner.