This section contains a local collection of astronomical images and texts,
relevant for their beauty and significance.
Planck Mission Brings Universe Into Sharp Focus
The Planck space mission has released the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe, revealing new information about its age, contents and origins.
Planck is a European Space Agency mission. NASA contributed mission-enabling technology for both of Planck's science instruments,
and U.S., European and Canadian scientists work together to analyze the Planck data.
The map results suggest the universe is expanding more slowly than scientists thought, and is 13.8 billion years old, 100 million years older than previous estimates. The data also show there is less dark energy and more matter, both normal and dark matter, in the universe than previously known. Dark matter is an invisible substance that can only be seen through the effects of its gravity, while dark energy is pushing our universe apart. The nature of both remains mysterious.
The Cosmic Microwave Background - The Inflationary Universe
The Cosmic Microwave Background, accidentaly detected in 1964 by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, is widely believed to be the radiation remnant of the Big Bang; The origin of the Universe.
In the images, the blue and red spots correspond to regions of greater or lesser density in the early Universe, 300,000 years after the Big Bang itself.
These relics record the distribution of matter and energy in the early Universe before the matter became organized into stars and galaxies.
To the authors of the information in this section:
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2006, "For their discovery of the blackbody form and anisotropy of the cosmic microwave background radiation".
See John C. Mather and George F. Smoot, Nobel Prize in Physics 2006 (Nobel Foundation).
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2011,
"For the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae",
with one half to Saul Perlmutter and the other half jointly to Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Riess.
See Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, Adam G. Riess, The Nobel Prize in Physics 2011 (Nobel Foundation).
Update: The Inflationary Universe - First Direct Evidence of Cosmic Inflation. (March 17, 2014)
COBE's Infrared View Of The Universe
Astronomers have assembled the first definitive detection of a background infrared glow across the sky produced by dust warmed by all the stars that have existed since the beginning of time.
The discovery reveals a surprisingly large amount of starlight in the universe cannot be seen directly by today's optical telescopes,
perhaps due to stars being hidden in dust, or being too faint or far away to be seen.
NASA Great Observatories Find Candidate for Most Distant Galaxy Yet Known
By combining the power of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope, and one of nature's own natural "zoom lenses" in space,
astronomers have set a new distance record for finding the farthest galaxy yet seen in the universe.
NASA's Hubble Finds
Most Distant Galaxy Candidate Ever Seen in Universe
Astronomers have pushed NASA's Hubble Space Telescope to its limits by finding
what is likely to be the most distant object ever seen in the universe.
The object's light traveled 13.2 billion years to reach Hubble, roughly 150 million years longer than the previous record holder.
Most Distant Galaxy in the Universe
A Hubble Space Telescope image of the galaxy cluster CL1358+62 has uncovered a
gravitationally-lensed image of a more distant galaxy located far beyond the cluster.
Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF)
The Deepest view of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind.
The million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called "dark ages", the time shortly after the big bang when the first stars reheated the cold, dark universe.
Hubble sees Early Building Blocks of Today's Galaxies
View of Distant, Faint Galaxies Reveals Young Galaxy Building Blocks.
An Introduction to Galaxies
Galaxy Building Block and Cold Dark Matter Theories
Hubble Deep Field (HDF)
Hubble's Deepest view of the universe unveils bewildering galaxies across
billions of years.
One peek into a small part of the sky, one giant leap back in time...
Seeking our "Cosmic Roots"
The Hubble Deep Field Project.
Hubble Finds Evidence for Dark Energy in the Young Universe
Astronomers used the supernovae to measure the expansion rate of the universe
and determine how the expansion rate is affected by the repulsive push of dark energy,
a mysterious energy force that pervades space.
Blast from the Past: Farthest Supernova Ever Seen Sheds Light on Dark Universe
Gazing to the far reaches of space and time,
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope identified the farthest stellar explosion ever seen,
a supernova that erupted 10 billion years ago. By examining the glow from this dying star,
astronomers have amassed more evidence that a mysterious,
repulsive force is at work in the cosmos,
making galaxies rush ever faster away from each other.
Hubble Finds Ring of Dark Matter
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have discovered
a ghostly ring of dark matter that formed long ago during a titanic collision between two massive galaxy clusters.
The ring's discovery is among the strongest evidence yet that dark matter exists.
Detailed Dark Matter Map Yields Clues to Galaxy Cluster Growth
Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope received a boost from a cosmic magnifying glass
to construct one of the sharpest maps of dark matter in the universe.
Hubble's Largest Galaxy Portrait Offers a New High-Definition View of M101
Hubble Space Telescope image of the face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101 (M101).
It is the largest and most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy that has ever been released from Hubble.
The galaxy's portrait is actually composed of 51 individual Hubble exposures, in addition to elements from images from ground-based photos.
The final composite image measures a whopping 16,000 by 12,000 pixels.
Hubble Photographs Grand Design Spiral Galaxy M81
The sharpest image ever taken of the large "grand design" spiral galaxy M81
was released today at the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii.
A spiral-shaped system of stars, dust, and gas clouds, the galaxy's arms wind all the way down into the nucleus.
Hubble Observes Infant Stars in Nearby Galaxy
This new image taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope depicts bright, blue,
newly formed stars that are blowing a cavity in the center of a star-forming region in the Small Magellanic Cloud.
Dark, but Light: Smallest Galaxies Ever Seen Solve a Big Problem
Mauna Kea scientists may have solved a discrepancy between the number of extremely small,
faint galaxies predicted to exist near the Milky Way and the number actually observed.
In an attempt to resolve the "Missing Dwarf Galaxy" problem, two astronomers used the W. M. Keck Observatory to study a population of the darkest, most lightweight galaxies known, each containing 99% dark matter.
Lone Black Holes Discovered Adrift in the Galaxy
Two images of a crowded starfield as seen through a ground-based telescope show the subtle brightening
of a star due to the effect of gravitational microlensing, where an invisible but massive foreground
object passes in front of the star and amplifies its light. The dark lensing object is estimated to be
a six-solar-mass black hole that is drifting alone among the stars.
Hubble Images a Swarm of Ancient Stars
This stellar swarm is M80 (NGC 6093), one of the densest of the 147 known globular star clusters in the Milky Way galaxy.
Located about 28,000 light-years from Earth, M80 contains hundreds of thousands of stars,
all held together by their mutual gravitational attraction.
Hubble Witnesses The Final Blaze of Glory of Sun-Like Stars
Hubble Sees Supersonic Exhaust From Nebula
Hubble's Planetary Nebula Gallery
- Hubble Observes a Star on the Brink of Destruction
- Super-Sharp View of the Doomed Star Eta Carinae
- Hubble Shows Expansion of Eta Carinae Debris
- X-Rays Reveal Gigantic Star May Be Twins
HST: Gas Pillar in the Carina Nebula
This turbulent cosmic pinnacle lies within a tempestuous stellar nursery called the Carina Nebula,
located 7,500 light-years away in the southern constellation Carina.
The image celebrates the 20th anniversary of Hubble's launch and deployment into an orbit around Earth.
Embryonic stars emerge from Evaporating Gaseous Globules "EGGs"
Dramatic pictures from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, show newborn stars
emerging from dense, compact pockets of interstellar gas called Evaporating
Gaseous Globules (EGGs).
Hubble found the "EGGs", appropriately enough, in the Eagle nebula, a nearby star-forming region 7,000 light-years away in the constellation Serpens.
A Giant Hubble Mosaic of the Crab Nebula
The Crab Nebula (M1, NGC 1952) is a six-light-year-wide expanding remnant of a star's supernova explosion.
Japanese and Chinese astronomers recorded this violent event nearly 1,000 years ago in 1054, as did, almost certainly, Native Americans.
This composite image was assembled from 24 individual exposures
taken with the NASA Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in October 1999, January 2000, and December 2000.
It is one of the largest images taken by Hubble and is the highest resolution image ever made of the entire Crab Nebula.
The Orion Nebula
Update: Hubble Panoramic View of Orion Nebula Reveals Thousands of Stars (January '06)
Located 1,500 light-years away, along our spiral arm of the Milky Way,
the Orion nebula is located in the middle of the Sword region of the constellation Orion the Hunter,
which dominates the early winter evening sky, at northern latitudes.
The stars have formed from collapsing clouds of interstellar gas within the last million years.
The most massive clouds have formed the brightest stars near the center and these are so hot
that they illuminate the gas left behind after the period of star formation was complete.
Images and eclipse animations of our Sun
In this images, you can see some features of our Sun.
You can also observe how the Sunspots evolve.
Observe the Sun's Corona.
Experience the Annular Solar Eclipse of May 10 '94.
Paraguaná: Total Eclipse of the Sun, February 26 '98
We established ARVAL's observation site at Punta de Barco, on the Easternmost road crossed by the Central Line, at sea level,
in the radio station 'La Voz de Venezuela', offering a good view of the Northeast coast, and the beaches.
Hubble Views the Pluto System
These Hubble Space Telescope images reveal Pluto, its large moon Charon, and the planet's two new candidate satellites. Between May 15 and May 18, 2005, Charon, and the putative moons all appear to rotate counterclockwise around Pluto.
The candidate moons, provisionally designated S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2,
were observed to be approximately 27,000 miles (44,000 kilometers) away from Pluto.
The objects are roughly two to three times as far from Pluto as Charon.
New Hubble Maps of Pluto Show Surface Changes
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has now mapped the dwarf planet in never-before-seen detail.
The new map is so good, astronomers have even been able to detect changes on the dwarf planet's surface
by comparing Hubble images taken in 1994 with the newer images taken in 2002-2003.
Hubble Makes Movie of Neptune's Dynamic Atmosphere
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope captures the distant blue-green world, Neptune, and its satellites in this portrait.
Astronomers used Hubble's assortment of filters to pinpoint high altitude clouds floating above the methane rich atmosphere.
The icy moons seen in this view are Proteus (the brightest), Larissa, Despina, and Galatea.
Neptune had 13 moons at last count. In Roman mythology, Larsissa and Despina were Neptunes's daughters.
Hubble Space Telescope: Clouds in Uranus
Using visible light, astronomers for the first time this century have detected clouds in the northern hemisphere of Uranus. The newest images, taken July 31 and Aug. 1, 1997.
Taking its first peek at Uranus, NASA Hubble Space Telescope's Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) has detected six distinct clouds in images taken July 28, 1997.
Hubble Captures a Rare Eclipse on Uranus.
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image is a never-before-seen
astronomical alignment of a moon traversing the face of Uranus, and its accompanying shadow (July 26 '06).
Occultation of SAO 164538 by Titania
Titania (mag. 13,9), the biggest satellite of Uranus, on September 7 '01 near 21:59 (Caracas, 01:59 UTC Sep. 8) occulted the star SAO 164538 (spectral class K0III, mag. 7,2), in Capricornus.
Hubble Space Telescope: A Change of Seasons on Saturn
These Hubble Space Telescope images, captured from 1996 to 2000,
show Saturn's rings open up from just past edge-on to nearly fully open
as it moves from autumn towards winter in its Northern Hemisphere.
Hubble Space Telescope: Saturn Storm
This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the ringed planet Saturn,
shows a rare storm that appears as a white arrowhead-shaped feature near the planet's equator.
The Rings of Saturn
The figure shows the very tenous E Ring (outer gray zone),
then the G and F Rings (thin lines, black in front of the planet) before the brigth A Ring (with Encke's Division),
then Cassini's Division and the bright B Ring.
Cassini-Huygens to Saturn
Launched in October 15 '97, Cassini is the first spacecraft to orbit Saturn.
The NASA orbiter is studying the intriguing features of Saturn's system of rings and moons.
It will also deliver the European Space Agency's Huygens Probe into the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan.
Hubble Space Telescope: Jupiter Storms
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope was following dramatic and rapid changes in Jupiter's turbulent atmosphere
that were critical for targeting observations made by the Galileo space probe when it arrived at the giant planet later in 1995.
NASA - JPL: Galileo to Jupiter
20 images showing Galileo's launch, and the most spectacular images from flybys of the Earth, Moon, Venus,
Asteroids Gaspra and Ida and the Shoemaker-Levy/9 impacts, accompanied by descriptions.
NASA - JPL: Galileo Images of Io
Three full-disk color views of Jupiter's volcanic moon Io as seen by NASA's Galileo spacecraft camera
are shown in enhanced color to highlight details of the surface.
Comparisons of these images to those taken by the Voyager spacecraft 17 years ago has revealed many changes have occurred on Io.
NASA - JPL: Galileo, Images of Europa
Natural and false color views of Europa from the Galileo spacecraft, taken during its second orbit around Jupiter.
NASA - JPL: Galileo Color Image of Ganymede
Natural color view of Ganymede from the Galileo spacecraft during its first encounter with the satellite.
NASA - JPL: Voyager 2 - Color Image of Callisto
Natural color view of Callisto from the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
Largest Asteroid May Be 'Mini Planet' with Water Ice
Observations of Asteroid 1 Ceres, the largest known [in the main asteroid belt],
have revealed that the object may be a "mini planet", and may contain large amounts of pure water ice beneath its surface.
Hubble Captures A Full Rotation of Mars
Pictures of the planet Mars taken with the recently refurbished NASA Hubble Space Telescope (HST)
provide the most detailed global view of the red planet ever obtained from Earth.
Valles Marineris - Point Perspective
Mosaic of the Valles Marineris hemisphere of Mars, projected into point perspective,
a view similar to that which one would see from a spacecraft.
The viewer's distance is 2,500 kilometers from the surface of the planet.
The mosaic is composed of 102 Viking Orbiter images of Mars.
The center of the scene (Lat -7°, Lon 78°) shows the entire Valles Marineris canyon system,
over 3,000 kilometers long and up to 8 kilometers deep.
Images of Mars Life?
Ever since scientists learned that water once flowed on Mars,
they've wondered whether life might also have flourished on the apparently now-dead planet.
Texts of Mars Life?
Water in Mars (March 23, 2004),
Rover: Conditions Once Suited for Life on Mars (March 12, 2013).
Mars Pathfinder Mission
Landing occurs at about 02:57 AM local time on Mars, which will be about 17:07 UTC on Friday, July 4, 1997.
From an hour and a half before landing until about three and a half hours later,
the spacecraft is under control of autonomous on-board software that precisely controls the many events that must occur.
Images of Venus
In this images, you can see some features of Venus.
You can also observe some details on its surface.
Images of Mercury
In this images, you can see some features of Mercury, and details on its surface.
Artemi García: Comet 1996/B2 Hyakutake
This image of Hyakutake was taken from San Pedro de Los Altos, near Los Teques,
on March 22 '96, with a Nikon FM camera mounted on a telescope tracking on the comet for a 30 minutes exposure.
Brian Halbrook: Comet 1996/B2 Hyakutake
This image of Hyakutake was taken Saturday morning, March 23 '96,
with an 85mm telephoto lens mounted on a telescope and guided on the comet for a 3-minute exposure.
Ikufumi Makino: Comet 1996/B2 Hyakutake
This image of Hyakutake was taken from the skirts of Fujiyama, Tuesday night, March 26,
with a 300mm f2.8 Tamron telephoto lens on a Nikon F2 mounted on a telescope and guided on the comet for a 10 minutes exposure.
Comet 1995/O1 Hale-Bopp
This comet was discovered on July 23, 1995
by Alan Hale, New Mexico, and Thomas Bopp, Arizona.
The comet reached its closest point to the Sun (perihelion) on April 1, 1997.
The orbit of this comet is of long period (something over 3,000 years).
Andrés Valencia: Total Lunar Eclipse - April 3 '96
This image of the fully eclipsed Moon, was taken from the coastal road East of Los Caracas,
Wednesday night, April 3 '96.
Andrés Valencia: Total Lunar Eclipse - September 26 '96
This image of the fully eclipsed Moon, was taken from the coastal road East of Los Caracas,
Thursday night, September 26 '96.
Jesús Piñeiro: Total Lunar Eclipse - September 26 '96
This image of the fully eclipsed Moon, was taken from Club de Campo, near Los Teques,
Thursday night, September 26.
Just as Galileo's first use of a telescope to see the sky [in 1609]
gave humanity its first order-of-magnitude increase in resolution for this kind of vision,
the HST gave us the second one.
The unaided eye can resolve nearly 1' of arc, a ground-based telescope near 1", the HST resolves 0.1" of arc.
In October 31 '06 NASA announced that it would go ahead with one final space shuttle mission to repair and upgrade Hubble after months of debate over the risks of such an endeavor.
The decision was taken by NASA's chief Michael Griffin, who had said for 18 months that he would support a proposed Hubble servicing mission provided its risk did not exceed that already accepted for other shuttle flights. The Service Mission 4 will add 5 years onto the Hubble's lifetime and could help NASA prepare the space telescope for its ultimate, but controlled, plunge through the Earth's atmosphere.
Griffin said the upcoming servicing mission would launch in 2008 between construction flights to complete the International Space Station (ISS), and was expected to feature at least five spacewalks to upgrade Hubble's optics and make other repairs.
For safety, NASA would have a second shuttle nearly ready to fly before staging the servicing flight.
Service Mission 4 (SM4) was delayed for May 12, 2009 and successfuly completed.
Updated: March 19 '14
Best seen with a display showing 16 million colors (24 or 32 bits/pixel)
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