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Hubble

The Spitzer space telescope has peered through dust and gas to establish a new value for t...

The size and age of our Universe is not only a critically important issue in cosmology, but is also among the most controversial and delicate of the cosmological questions. Infrared observations made using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope have now given us the most precise estimate yet of the rate at which our Universe is expanding. The key was not the discovery of a new method for measuring distance. Rather, astronomers discovered how to measure brightness more accurately. The new value for the Hubble constant, good to within three percent, is 74.3 kilometers per second per megaparsec (km/s/Mpc).  Read More

Astronomers have assembled a new, improved portrait of our deepest-ever view of the Univer...

NASA scientists have directed the Hubble Space Telescope to inspect a tiny patch of sky with an unusually long exposure time to obtain the deepest image of the sky ever obtained. The image, dubbed the Hubble Extreme Deep Field (XDF), reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever detected, shedding more light on the early history of the universe.  Read More

Light from the primordial galaxy, dubbed 'MACS 1149-JD', traveled approximately 13.2 billi...

A team of Johns Hopkins University astronomers have spotted what may well be the most distant galaxy ever detected. Dubbed "MACS 1149-JD", the discovery provides insight into the most remote epoch of cosmic history, as light captured from the faint galaxy shone forth when the universe was just 500 million years old – or 3.6 percent of its present age.  Read More

Galaxy BX442 and its companion dwarf galaxy, on the top-right side (Image: Joe Bergen/Dunl...

When astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to scout a remote patch of the sky and investigate the early stages of galaxy formation, they stumbled upon something which they did not expect. They realized that the distant spiral galaxy BX422, appearing to us as it was only three billion years after the Big Bang, seems to be uncharacteristically well-formed for its young age. By studying its features, which are in direct contrast with our current knowledge of galaxy formation, scientists hope to shed more light on how spiral galaxies – including our own – are formed.  Read More

Image, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, showing five moons orbiting the distant, ic...

Pluto may no longer be classified as a planet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still getting its fair share of attention. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is currently making its way to the icy dwarf planet to study it and its moons. To search for potential hazards to the spacecraft and help plan a safer trajectory before its scheduled arrival in 2015, a team of astronomers has trained the eye of the Hubble Space Telescope on the system and discovered a fifth, previously unknown moon orbiting the planet.  Read More

3.75 billion years from now - the nighttime sky showing the Andromeda galaxy (M31) early i...

When Galaxies Collide! It sounds like an early science fiction novel. However, analysis of Hubble measurements shows that our own Milky Way galaxy is moving toward a head-on collision with our nearest neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy (also known as M31). The collision will start in about four billion years, and over the following three billion years the two spiral galaxies will coalesce into a large elliptical galaxy. Based on this data, NASA has produced a video of the upcoming collision.  Read More

NASA has been given two ex-spy satellites with optics superior to those of the Hubble Spac...

NASA’s collection of space telescopes just got a bit bigger thanks to an extraordinary gift from America's National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) intelligence agency. The space agency announced on Monday that the NRO has given it two surplus spy satellites that are more advanced than the Hubble Space Telescope. If the money can be found for a mission for the spy “birds” then NASA will not only have two possible replacements for the retiring Hubble, but also an added ability to scan the skies for supernovae, locate new exoplanets and even seek the answer to the fate of the universe.  Read More

The departing Space Shuttle Atlantis captured this image of the Hubble Space Telescope dur...

From Earth's perspective, on June 5 and 6, Venus will pass across the face of the Sun. By observing the tiny fraction of sunlight that passes through Venus's atmosphere using the Hubble Space Telescope, it is hoped that the planet's atmospheric makeup can be determined. Though we already know the nature of Venus's atmosphere, it is hoped the event will help astronomers hone techniques, already in use, that may one day help to identify Earth-like planets in far-away solar systems. The catch? Hubble cannot observe the Sun directly. Instead it will look at the Moon to observe reflected light.  Read More

The NIRCam that has passed its testing at Lockheed Martin and is being readied for shipmen...

Assembly has been completed on the Near Infrared Camera (NIRCam) that will be the primary imager on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and will also act as the telescope’s wavefront sensor to allow for control of its primary mirror. NIRCam covers the infrared wavelength range of 0.6 (the edge of visible) to 5 microns (near infrared) and its focal plane assemblies (FPA) consist of 40 million pixels and are designed to operate at 35 degrees Kelvin (-396°F/-238°C).  Read More

Artist's view of GJ1214b (Image credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Aguilar (Harvard-Smithsonian Cen...

Planets orbiting two stars, giant super-Earths and worlds racked with boiling rock storms - these are just some of the galactic oddities among the more than 700 exoplanets discovered in the past 20 years. Now there's another new class of extrasolar planet to add to the list - the waterworld.  Read More

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