Hubble’s New Eye Returns Fresh Images of Space


NASA has released four images shot with the new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), installed aboard Hubble in May 2009, during Servicing Mission 4.

Here's some of their explanation regarding the image above:

"NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this panoramic view of a colorful assortment of 100,000 stars residing in the crowded core of a giant star cluster. The image reveals a small region inside the massive globular cluster Omega Centauri, which boasts nearly 10 million stars. Globular clusters, ancient swarms of stars united by gravity, are the homesteaders of our Milky Way galaxy. The stars in Omega Centauri are between 10 billion and 12 billion years old. The cluster lies about 16,000 light-years from Earth...All of the stars in the image are cozy neighbors. The average distance between any two stars in the cluster's crowded core is only about a third of a light-year, roughly 13 times closer than our Sun's nearest stellar neighbor, Alpha Centauri. Although the stars are close together, WFC3's sharpness can resolve each of them as individual stars. If anyone lived in this globular cluster, they would behold a star-saturated sky that is roughly 100 times brighter than Earth's sky."

Three more shots and a press conference about the images, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Posted September 10, 2009 at 10:28am ETC by Andy Towle
in News, Space