ON DECEMBER 3, humanity suddenly had information at its fingertips that people have wanted for, well, forever: the precise distances to the stars.
Usually when astronomers talk about our neighboring galaxy, they’re talking about Andromeda, which is a cozy 2.5 million light-years away. But just a little farther—okay, 500,000 light-years farther—is another spiral galaxy, the third largest in our local group. Hubble has just released its most detailed view yet of that galaxy, which is known as Triangulum (can you see why?). Continue reading Gaze in Awe at Hubble’s Most Detailed View of the Triangulum Galaxy
In addition to filling balloons at birthday parties, helium can be found scattered throughout the cosmos. To date, however, scientists have struggled to detect the ubiquitous element on distant worlds, even though the gas is certain to be there. But that’s now changed, thanks to the discovery of helium on a Jupiter-sized world located 200 light-years from Earth—but that’s only part of the story. Continue reading The First Exoplanet Known to Contain Helium Is a Truly Alien World
Over the past 28 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has inspired a generation of astronomers with insanely dramatic views of the universe, but it’s hardly done blowing our minds. NASA has unveiled a new fly-through video of the Lagoon Nebula. Located in the center of the Milky Way, NASA calls it a “raucous star nursery” full of dust and star formation with “Herschel 36,” a star 200,000 times larger than our sun, at its center. Continue reading Hubble flies through the Milky Way’s ‘raucous star nursery’
Two planets in the constellation of Aquarius may have atmospheres that could support life. After using the Hubble Space Telescope to spy on the planets, astronomers have concluded that these worlds don’t have the inhospitable atmosphere of most gas planets.
A beautiful thing about science is that it’s constantly revised. In 1929, Edwin Hubble discovered that the universe was expanding. This means that the galaxies around ours are moving away from us as space is also expanding. As my Astronomy 101 professor explained it (and as plenty have before), you can think of as a sort of inflating balloon.
Another May the 4th, another day of wishing scientists would hurry up and invent FTL propulsion already. But now, NASA has gone and given us the next best thing: a virtual trip to the center of the galaxy, stitched together from a stunning series of Hubble wide-field images.