While it may seem that the astronomy community's views on Pluto changed radically with its reclassification in 2006, the truth is that our understanding of Pluto has always been shifting. We now comprehend Pluto's place within the solar system, and the exploration of that region has really just begun.
When a survey of a star-forming region found a star 90 times as massive as the Sun, located hundreds of light-years from its home, and speeding by at a quarter of a million miles per hour — well, that's a surprise that's worth investigating a bit further.
In Hubble's first 20 years in orbit, it has taken many thousands of images and observations that have awed astronomers and non-astronomers alike. To commemorate Hubble's 20th anniversary, we select 20 Hubble images that represent the telescope's scientific accomplishments and its impact on the public's imagination.
In 2002, star V838 Monocerotis brightened dramatically in a mysterious outburst, allowing Hubble to capture a series of images of the dust and gas around the star.
Hubble is back after its May 2009 servicing mission with new pictures that show off its expanded capabilities. Find out what these new images imply for the future of Hubble astronomy.
The winner of "Hubble's Next Discovery — You Decide!" contest, chosen as a Hubble target by the public, was galaxy group Arp 274. The first-ever Hubble image of the galaxy trio has a surprise in store.
In May 2009, astronauts aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis visited Hubble for the last manned mission to the observatory. A series of ambitious spacewalks readied the telescope for the future.
Occultation occurs when one celestial body — for instance, a moon or a planet — aligns with another. Striking images of occultation give us an unusual glimpse of the traffic in our cosmic backyard.
We've found about 300 planets beyond our solar system, using indirect methods that calculate their presence. Now Hubble has captured the first visible-light picture of a planet around another star.
"Hubble's Next Discovery — You Decide" puts control of the telescope in the hands of the public. Dr. Summers reviews the candidates for Hubble viewing and describes their intriguing features.
Matter warps the space around it, according to Einstein. We use this effect to our advantage in cosmic observations, using "gravitational lenses" to view galaxies ordinarily beyond the reach of our telescopes.
Jupiter's Great Red Spot, a whirling storm on the gas giant planet's surface, has been one of the planet's most recognizable features for centuries. But look out — company is on the way.
In September 2008, Hubble was two weeks away from a servicing mission when an electrical problem shut down much of the telescope. Intense work and effort has resulted in a replacement part to fix the problem.
Take a safari through the Coma Cluster, one of the richest nearby galaxy collections. Thousands of galaxies are gathered together here, making it an ideal location to see the diversity of galaxies in the universe.
Interacting galaxies, galaxies that collide and merge, or distort each other's shapes as they brush by, are among the most fascinating cosmic phenomena. Hubble images show interactions in full swing.