The Pillars of Creation: Hubble’s 25th Anniversary

The Hubble Space Telescope’s just had its 25th Anniversary of bringing us the greatest Astronomical images the world has ever seen.  To celebrate, the Hubble team revisited one of Hubble’s most iconic images by pointing the cameras at the Eagle nebula once more.  The image, dubbed the ‘Pillars of Creation’ show columns of star forming gas and dust, where the proverbial ‘magic’ happens. But let’s begin with the old image, taken in 1995, so we can compare the differences between then and now. And now the newest image. Quite a striking difference.  Like a fine wine, Hubble has only gotten...

4.3 Gigabytes and 100 Million Stars in a Single image – Andromeda

When I became a Masters student, a big part of the reason I liked the supervisor I had was that she studied M31: The Andromeda Galaxy.  Since I was young I was obsessed with finding this galaxy in a telescope, and I will never forget when I first found it, seeing photons that had travelled for 2.5 Million years through space, it was my first ever experience with time travel. So its natural that I am excited about a recent Hubble release of the highest resolution photo of the Andromeda Galaxy Ever taken.  Let’s start with a standard shot of...

Questions Series: How do we know the size of the Universe?

A set of questions I get from kids and adults alike while doing my Astronomy in Action planetarium shows consists of the following: Does the Universe have an end? How big is the Universe? Where is the center of the Universe? What is the ‘Observable Universe?’ How is it different from just saying ‘the Universe?’ First of all, let me say that it is really hard to imagine the Universe as it is, even with a solid understanding of large-scale Physics.  This is because there is no analogy in our lives, no reference point in our everyday experience.  It’s very...

Hubble Ultra Deep Field – Amazing Image!

You need to see this animation.  It’s an amazing picture showing the Hubble Ultra Deep Field and the small patch of sky Astronomers had to aim at in order to photograph it.  The moon is there for comparison.  The patch of sky is about the size of a grain of sand held at arm’s length. Courtesy of gfycat.com, it really puts things in perspective.  The crazy part is that if you look in any direction in the universe, in patches of sky as small as this one, you see the exact same thing.  There are more galaxies in the Universe than we...

Hubble has nothing on ALMA: Planets forming around a star captured in finest detail ever

The Hubble Space telescope produced the finest Astronomical images in a generation, but Hubble’s time in the limelight has ended, and now it’s time for a new generation of both space- and ground-based telescopes to take over with their own jaw-dropping images and revolutionary science. Recently the Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA) has taken the leap and used its full power to take an astonishing image of the protoplanetary disk of the young star HL Tau. This image is of a very young star, only about a million years old (Which is really young compared to the 4.5 billions year old...