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Newly fixed Hubble's deep space photos again amaze

space photo;Hubble

Gravitational Lensing in Galaxy Cluster Abell 370 in an image taken by the freshly repaired Hubble Space Telescope and released by NASA on September 9, 2009.

A refurbished Hubble Space Telescope is showing Earth the sharpest photos yet of cosmic beauty, complete with heavenly glows.

NASA on Wednesday unveiled the first deep space photos taken by Hubble since its billion dollar repair mission last spring. That work included installing two new cameras, other science instruments and replacing broken parts.

"Hubble is back in action. Together, NASA and Hubble are opening new vistas on the universe," astronomer and frequent Hubble user Heidi Hammel said.

The 10 images of galaxies and nebulas -- clouds of stellar gas and dust -- are sharper than previous photos taken of the same places by Hubble before its fifth and final upgrade. Some have brilliant glows of light that give them halos that to some people can appear heavenly. And one of those resembles an eerie cosmic butterfly, but is really a stellar nursery or nebula not too far away.

The butterfly photo shows details, such as gassy folds in what looks like butterfly wings, that the Hubble previously could not see, said Hubble senior scientist Dave Leckrone.

The glow in that photo and others is hot gas and dust pushed out from the stars, Leckrone said. In a way, it's like a lightbulb, with the star as the filament but the overall glow from the gas, he said.

The images, especially the butterfly, don't just show science, but can evoke a sense of spirituality, Leckrone said.

"What I see is the grandeur of creation, however it got there," Leckrone told The Associated Press.

The most stunning photos involve the cosmos at its most violent: the birth and death of stars.

One shows the stellar nursery Carina Nebula, about 7,500 light years away. A light year is nearly 6 trillion miles. The photo shows an eerie backlit reddish cloud being bombarded by radiation. When Hubble's new camera uses a different light spectrum, the cloud disappears and the infant stars appear. They are only about 100,000 years old with white jets shooting out.

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 Source : China Daily  Editor: Ivy
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