To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA has published dozens of new images of what it describes as 30 “celestial gems.”
These “gems” include galaxies, star clusters, and massive clouds of gas and material coalescing into the beginnings of stars and planets.
These images were captured with the help of Hubble, but many of them can be seen without a powerful telescope, and even with something as simple as a pair of binoculars.
NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is a truly incredible piece of machinery. It’s been capturing images of the cosmos for decades, and it’s made some truly stunning discoveries along the way. NASA is constantly publishing new images from the telescope, but for its 30th anniversary, the space agency wanted to really provide space fans with a treat.
So, in honor of 30 years of Hubble, NASA just released over 50 Hubble images that capture 30 distinct features of the night sky in stunning detail. These images depict star clusters, galaxies, and other incredible sights that are part of the Caldwell catalog. The Caldwell catalog is a collection of sights that can be seen using amateur astronomy gear including binoculars and hobby-level telescopes.
BGR’s Top Deal of the Day
The images were added to the online repository for Hubble images of Caldwell catalog objects. As NASA explains in a new blog post, this new image dump bumps up the number of Caldwell objects that Hubble has observed to 87. There are a total of 109 objects in the Caldwell catalog, so Hubble has seen the vast majority of them, and in some truly remarkable detail.
Because of Hubble’s detailed field of view, some of its pictures do not capture the entirety of a Caldwell object, sometimes instead zooming in on clusters of young stars in the arms of a spiral galaxy, stars on the outskirts of a cluster, or the zombie star at the heart of a nebula. But in other cases, a mosaic of Hubble observations assemble to create a complete or nearly complete portrait of the celestial marvel.
NASA has a really handy tool for exploring all of the Caldwell objects that Hubble has spotted. It’s available online and acts as a huge map of the sky. You can zoom in on specific objects like galaxies and nebulae, seeing the stellar sights just as Hubble does.
“While Hubble provides images in exquisite detail, the Caldwell objects can be observed using modest ground-based telescopes, though some are more challenging targets than others,” NASA explains. “The catalog features many deep-sky objects that are bright enough to be seen with binoculars and a few that are visible to the naked eye. Regardless of the viewing instrument, the Caldwell objects are rich in history, brimming with science, and fun to observe.”
So dive in and feast your eyes on some truly incredible images.