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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Top Ten Hubble Images of All Time - The Very Best Hubble Images

As the title says, this article lists the top ten Hubble space satellite images ever taken. Hubble has been in operation since 1990, and now after serving almost for 20 years it is time to list the very best images taken by Hubble. Please notice that this is my personal opinion based on beauty of the images as well as scientific value.

Hubble telescope is an optical telescope orbiting the Earth. The telescope was positioned to space in order to get higher quality images of deep space. Telescope on the surface of the planet are not able to reach the same quality due to interferences in atmosphere. Hubble is able to capture images of very dark objects, which cannot be seen by the telescopes on Earth. Anyhow, when observing bright objects, the quality level of Hubble is the same as telescopes on Earth.

Hubble circulates the Earth 595 kilometers above the surface of the Earth. It has been repaired four times and it has exceeded its estimated lifetime, but it is not anymore in good condition. Many parts of the telescope are malfunctioning, and it seems that Hubble will be dropped to ocean after 2010.

Number 10: Spiral Galaxy M74 (Hubble)

10-spiral-galaxy-m74-hubble.jpgHubble’s image of M74 is stunning. M74, also called as NGC 628, is a perfectly formed spiral galaxy. M74 is located roughly 32 million light-years away in the direction of the constellation Pisces, the Fish. It has been estimated that there are about 100 billion stars in M74, which means it is slightly smaller galaxy than Milky Way. There are lots of images of galaxies in the Internet, some of them being very beautiful images, but I must say this image taken by Hubble is absolutely on of the most impressive images.

Number 9: Interacting Galaxy Pair Arp 87

9-interacting-galaxy-pair-arp-87.jpgThese two galaxies perform an intricate dance in this great Hubble image. The galaxies, containing a huge amount of stars, swing past each other just like in a slow motion movie. It is amazing to think how large-scale phenomenon this really is. This galaxy pair, also known as Arp 87, is located in constellation Leo, the Lion, approximately 300 million light-years away from Earth.

Number 8: Comet P/Shoemaker-Levy 9 Bombards Jupiter

8-comet-p-shoemaker-levy-9-bombards-jupiter.jpgThis Hubble image shows how comet Shoemaker-Levy crashes into the surface of the gigantic Jupiter. As we know, a comet impact could destroy the life on Earth. This Hubble image of Shoemaker-Levy crashing into Jupiter gives us a clue of the awesome size of Jupiter. This Hubble image is important because this was the first time we were able to observe real time two objects colliding in space. t is a pity I missed this phenomenon when it happened. I mean, I was not prepared and I did not see this happening in real time.

Number 7: Firestorm of Star Birth In Galaxy NGC 604

7-firestorm-of-star-birth-in-galaxy-ngc-604.jpgHubble image of NGC 604 is probably one of the most beautiful and space images. This massive star-birth region is comparable to Orion nebula M42, but it is vastly larger in extent. There are approximately 200 brilliant blue stars within a cloud of glowing gases some. The nebula is about 1,300 light-years across and it is nearly 100 times the size of the Orion Nebula. I said above that the galaxy image is one of the most impressive images taken. I have to say the same again. This image of NGC 604 is also ine of the most impressive space images I have seen.

Number 6: Saturn

6-saturn.jpgSaturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and the second biggest planet in the Solar System. Saturn has always been interesting and very much photographed object due to its beautiful rings. This Hubble image is so sharp and good that Saturn almost looks like a toy. This planet is definitely my favorite planet.

Number 5: Light Echoes From Red Supergiant Star V838 Monocerotis – October 2002

5-red-supergiant-star-v838-monocerotis.jpgV838 Monocerotis is a variable star in the constellation Monoceros about 20,000 light years from the Sun. Hubble telescope photographed this major outburst of the star which was initially understood as a nova eruption. The reason for the outburst has not been understood yet, but several theories have already been defined, such as an eruption related to stellar death processes and a merger of a binary star or planets. This image is in my list of top ten Hubble images of all time because it is so beautiful. It is simply an awesome picture.

Number 4: Gas Pillars in the Eagle Nebula (M16): Pillars of Creation in a Star-Forming Region

4-gas-pillars-in-the-eagle-nebula-m16-pillars-of-creation-in-a-star-forming-region.jpgAre those undersea corrals? No, those dark pillar-like structures are columns of cool interstellar hydrogen gas and dust. They are incubators, places where new stars are born. They are part of the “Eagle Nebula”, also called M16. This Hubble image is simply stunning. It makes you stop, watch and wonder. The majestic pillars are beautiful with all their shapes and shadows. This image makes me wondering, dreaming and “flying” around those aweome pillars. This image is absolutely stunning and impressive.

Number 3: A Giant Hubble Mosaic of the Crab Nebula

3-a-giant-hubble-mosaic-of-the-crab-nebula.jpgThe Crab Nebula, one of my all-time favorite night sky objects, is here photographed by the Hubble telescope. This six-light-year wide nebula is an expanding remnant of a star’s supernova explosion. With all its colors and sharp lines, the image is definitely one of the best Hubble images of all time. I saw this image long time ago when it was first published. I was impressed back then, but I still keep on wondering how sharp this image is. It is amazing, absolutely amazing space image. I just wonder what kind of images we will see in 30 years if images now are so amazing already.
Number 2: The Majestic Sombrero Galaxy (M104)

2-the-majestic-sombrero-galaxy-m104.jpgOne of the most photographed objects in the sky is the Sombrero Galaxy (M104). This very beautiful galaxy, looking like a sombrero or a disk, is like made for photographing. The photogenic Sombrero Galaxy is here photographed by the Hubble telescope. The result is very sharp image with fabulous lights and colors. This image is the second best Hubble image ever taken.

Number 1: Most Distant Galaxy Candidates in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field

1-ultra-deep-field.jpgHow would you define what is the number one Hubble image? I would say the number one Hubble image must be one of the most important space images ever taken and it must also be fabulous from artistic point of view. There is no question, the number one Hubble image is this Ultra Deep Field image in which we can see a huge number of galaxies. The faintest objects are less than one four-billionth the brightness of stars that can be seen with the naked eye. Their light has taken nearly 13 billion years to reach Earth, and so these objects represent some of the earliest star-forming galaxies to form in the universe. Ladies and gentleman, this is the number one Hubble image ever taken.

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