Nav: Home

Hubble spotlights a celestial sidekick

February 17, 2017

This image was captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), a highly efficient wide-field camera covering the optical and near-infrared parts of the spectrum. While this lovely image contains hundreds of distant stars and galaxies, one vital thing is missing -- the object Hubble was actually studying at the time!

This is not because the target has disappeared. The ACS actually uses two detectors: the first captures the object being studied -- in this case an open star cluster known as NGC 299 -- while the other detector images the patch of space just 'beneath' it. This is what can be seen here.

Technically, this picture is merely a sidekick of the actual object of interest -- but space is bursting with activity, and this field of bright celestial bodies offers plenty of interest on its own. It may initially seem to show just stars, but a closer look reveals many of these tiny objects to be galaxies. The spiral galaxies have arms curving out from a bright center. The fuzzier, less clearly shaped galaxies might be ellipticals. Some of these galaxies contain millions or even billions of stars, but are so distant that all of their starry residents are contained within just a small pinprick of light that appears to be the same size as a single star!

The bright blue dots are very hot stars, sometimes distorted into crosses by the struts supporting Hubble's secondary mirror. The redder dots are cooler stars, possibly in the red giant phase when a dying star cools and expands.
-end-
Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Text Credit: European Space Agency

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Stars Articles:

And then there was light: looking for the first stars in the Universe
Astronomers are closing in on a signal that has been travelling across the Universe for 12 billion years, bringing them nearer to understanding the life and death of the very earliest stars.
Massive stars grow same way as light stars, just bigger
Astronomers obtained the first detailed face-on view of a gaseous disk feeding the growth of a massive baby star.
Our history in the stars
Astronomers map the substance aluminum monoxide (AlO) in a cloud around a distant young star -- Origin Source I.
Stars exploding as supernovae lose their mass to companion stars during their lives
Stars over eight times more massive than the sun end their lives in supernovae explosions.
Old stars live longer than we thought
The type of stars we refer to, which cannot be seen by the naked eye, officially up to now the objects which have suffered the greatest loss of mass.
More Stars News and Stars Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Erasing The Stigma
Many of us either cope with mental illness or know someone who does. But we still have a hard time talking about it. This hour, TED speakers explore ways to push past — and even erase — the stigma. Guests include musician and comedian Jordan Raskopoulos, neuroscientist and psychiatrist Thomas Insel, psychiatrist Dixon Chibanda, anxiety and depression researcher Olivia Remes, and entrepreneur Sangu Delle.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...