The Sciences

Hubble Picture of the Week

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitMay 18, 2010 11:34 AM

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Since its launch in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has taken... let's see... <counting on fingers>... carry the two... about a gazillion pictures of the sky. Not all of them are gorgeous, and not all of them are news-breaking, but an awful lot are really cool but don't get any press. That'll change now. The folks at the European Space Agency side of Hubble Central have created a new feature: the Hubble Picture of the Week. This is pretty much what it sounds like: a new, way cool picture posted once a week. They've posted the first three already, like this one:

Click to embiggen. That's the planetary nebula IC4634, a star that was once much like the Sun, but is now at the end of its life, throwing off great gusts of gas in its final paroxysms before fading away as a white dwarf. The galaxy image above is another one, NGC 2082, a pretty, face-on spiral about 60 million light years away. I worked on Hubble data for a long time, and I saw a lot of images that should be seen by more people, but there simply wasn't a way to do it back then. With this new HST PotW, I bet a lot of those will get wider acknowledgment now.

Tip o' the lens cap to astronomer, my friend, and sometime dance partner Lars Christian Lindberg.

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