• March 22, 2007

    Episode 89: HubbleWatch for March 2007

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    The Hubble Space Telescope has been watching a supernova in progress since its launch in 1990. The stellar explosion, which first appeared in 1987, is known as SN1987A. Hubble has observed over the years as the shockwave from the explosion slams into the rings of gas circling the dying star. This is astronomers' first close-up and personal view of the death of a massive star. "Hot Jupiters," huge gas planets located perilously close to their parent stars, appear to be scattered throughout our galaxy. One such planet is so close to its star that its atmosphere has puffed up from the heat and is boiling off into space. Hubble is helping astronomers get a glimpse at what that atmosphere is like. The New Horizons space probe, on its way to Pluto, recently swung by the planet Jupiter. The planet's gravity helped slingshot the probe deeper into space. But while it was there, New Horizons took pictures of the gas giant. Hubble took images of Jupiter at the same time, allowing scientists to compare and contrast pictures from both missions.