10th Anniversary of Hubble Heritage Project

The Hubble Space Telescope or HST or sometime just called Hubble, was taking tons of incredibly fantastic images faster than the Hubble team could release to the press, and hence some of these incredible images were not seen by the public. But the astronomers working with Hubble wanted to share them with everyone.

So in October 1998, the astronomers came up with the Hubble Heritage Project. The idea is that each month they will release a previously unseen Hubble image, showcase some of the most attractive images ever taken by the telescope and share them with the public. The images they released is not just science, but it’s an art as well, for the Heritage team has presented aesthetic images that present the universe from an artistic perspective.

And this month marks the 10th anniversary of this project. To celebrate this birthday, the Heritage team releases the image below – a close-up detail at the edge of nebula NCG3324.

Close-up detail at the edge of NGC3324. Click to enlarge. 

NGC3324 is a star-forming region located in the northwest corner of the Carina Nebula in the southern hemisphere. The intense ultraviolet radiation from nearby young and hot stars (don’t forget this is a star-forming region!) ionised the surrounding material causing the nebula to glow.

NGC3324 is a “hole” or a “bubble” in space (see image below, the Hubble image above is located at about 2 o’clock position); strong stellar winds from young, massive and hot stars nearby blow away their surrounding material and leaves behind a “hole” (blue colour in the image above) full of wispy tendrils of gas.

However, in some part of the nebula, the gasses and dusts are thicker, so they are harder to erode. The result is the “fingers” you see in the image above – denser blobs of material light-years in height, rising above the glowing gas. Enlarge the image above and follow the edge of the “hole”, you will sure to find more of them, big and small.

NGC3324

Ground-Based Image of NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula Complex.
Credit: Copyright 2006 Brad Moore and Southern Astro

Hubble may be having problem now, but no matter what happens to it eventually (nothing last forever, anyway), the tons of science and images of the universe that it has brought for us will be treasured forever.

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~ by thChieh on October 7, 2008.

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