Watch Hubble’s stunning 3D fly-through of nebula Gum 29

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Last Friday, the Hubble Space Telescope celebrated its 25th Anniversary, and in honor of its myriad accomplishments NASA released this stunning video featuring a 3D visualization of nebula Gum 29 with the star cluster Westerlund 2.

According to NASA:

 “The flight traverses the foreground stars and approaches the lower left rim of the nebula Gum 29. Passing through the wispy darker clouds on the near side, the journey reveals bright gas illuminated by the intense radiation of the newly formed stars of cluster Westerlund 2. Within the nebula, several pillars of dark, dense gas are being shaped by the energetic light and strong stellar winds from the brilliant cluster of thousands of stars. Note that the visualization is intended to be a scientifically reasonable interpretation and that distances within the model are significantly compressed.”

Hubble turns 25

On April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into space onboard the space shuttle Discovery. Part of an international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency, Hubble has been providing scientists and astronomers nearly three decades of unprecedented views and insights into the depths and vastness of our universe.  In a recent NASA/ESA statement, “Hubble has revealed properties of space and time that for most of human history were only probed in the imaginations of scientists and philosophers alike. Today, Hubble continues to provide views of cosmic wonders never before seen and is at the forefront of many new discoveries.”

Sombrero Galaxy

Sombrero Galaxy in infrared light (Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope)

There was a moment, however, when the Hubble Space Telescope’s ability to scour the depths of the cosmos was in serious jeopardy. Just a few days after Hubble’s deployment, NASA ground control engineers noticed that the observatory’s primary mirror suffered from a flaw that prevented the telescope from taking images with maximum clarity. Fortunately, Hubble benefited from five service missions where astronauts worked on and solved many of the kinks. While Hubble is still operational, NASA is looking forward to launching its latest and most powerful telescope, the James Webb

hubble space telescopeVideo Credits:

NASA, ESA, G. Bacon, L. Frattare, Z. Levay, and F. Summers (Viz3D Team, STScI), and J. Anderson (STScI)

Acknowledgment: The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI), the Westerlund 2 Science Team, and ESO

Music: “Francis Bacon, Georges Bataille, Gilles Deleuze, Marcel Duchamp, William Burroughs” (by Breathing Space) – Creative Commons License

About Author

Kristian strives to enlighten and entertain readers. In addition to his teaching and editorial responsibilities, he is working on a science-fiction novel that promises not to include exoskeleton suits and anemic aliens floating in mysterious vats of green-tinted goop.

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