July 4, 2013 |
A comet the size of a mountain is zooming toward the sun at 48,000 mph, and the Hubble Space Telescope has caught a bit of its epic journey. In the image above, and the time-lapse video below, you can see the comet known as ISON zipping between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, 403 million miles from Earth. Comet ISON was discovered in September by Russian astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok who spotted it with the International Scientific Optical Network (ISON). It is a sungrazing comet, which means its orbit will take it very near the sun. It has also been described as a potential "comet of the century" because there is a chance it will shine as brightly in the night sky as the moon soon after it reaches its closest point to the sun at the end of this year.
April 23, 2013 |
The possible "comet of the century" is hurtling through space at approximately 47,000 mph. Its dust tail extends for more than 57,000 miles. And this fall it may appear as bright in our sky as the moon. Its name is Comet ISON, and the Hubble Space Telescope has just snapped its first picture of this celestial phenomenon. That eerie, optical light image you see above that seems to say, "I'm coming," was taken April 10. At that time the comet was slightly closer to Earth's orbit than Jupiter's orbit, but still 386 million miles from the sun. Even at that great distance, the sun is warming the comet's surface, causing it to release gases and dust from its icy nucleus.
April 16, 2013 |
The most powerful stellar explosion since the big bang has been linked to a newly discovered class of ultra-long gamma ray burst, astronomers said Tuesday at the 2013 Huntsville Gamma-Ray Burst Symposium in Nashville, Tenn. "We really think we've found this new class of gamma-ray bursts and a natural explanation for creating them in a type of star collapse that we haven't previously talked about," said Andrew Levan, an astronomer at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, who led a study on the phenomena.
April 4, 2013 |
Talk about a long trip: The explosion that created Supernova UDS10Wil, the oldest supernova discovered to date, took place more than 10 billion years ago, but light from the explosion only recently became visible to the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists estimate that this supernova is 350 million years older than the previous oldest known supernova, which was discovered just a few months ago. Scientists still don't know much about Supernova UDS10Wil, dubbed SN Wilson for short, but they are hoping its discovery can help them to answer questions about how supernovae were created in the early universe and to measure how fast the universe is expanding.
March 23, 2013 |
Scientists and space junkies got some good news from NASA on Friday: The space agency announced it would keep the Hubble Space Telescope 's science operations going at least through April 30, 2016. The three-year extension will cost NASA $76 million, according to the announcement . The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore manages Hubble's science operations for NASA through a contract with the Assn. of Universities for Research in Astronomy. PHOTOS: Hubble's Brilliant Images of Space Launched in 1990 from the shuttle Discovery, Hubble has contributed to many scientific breakthroughs . My personal favorite is the 1998 discovery that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate, pushed apart by a mysterious force called dark energy.
September 19, 2012 |
The Hubble Space Telescope has detected light from a small galaxy emitted just 500 million years after the big bang, a crucial and difficult-to-study era when the universe was very young, scientists reported Wednesday. Scientists were able to see the ancient galaxy because gravity from a massive galaxy cluster situated between it and Hubble acted as a lens, bending the light from the "incredibly faint" galaxy and magnifying it about 15 times, said Johns Hopkins astronomer Wei Zheng.