This dramatic image offers a peek inside a cavern of roiling dust and gas where thousands of stars are forming. More than 3,000 stars of various sizes appear in this image. Some of them have never been seen in visible light. These stars reside in a dramatic dust-and-gas landscape of plateaus, mountains, and valleys that are reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. The Orion Nebula is a picture book of star formation, from the massive, young stars that are shaping the nebula to the pillars of dense gas that may be the homes of budding stars.
OBJECT: Orion Nebula, M42, NGC 1976
CREDIT: NASA, ESA, M. Robberto (Space Telescope Science Institute/ESA) and the Hubble Space Telescope Orion Treasury Project Team
New Horizons launched on an Atlas V 551 booster with a Star 48B third stage directly into an interplanetary trajectory.
The mission is designed to fly by Pluto and its moon Charon and transmit images and data back to Earth. It will then continue on into the Kuiper Belt where it will fly by one or more Kuiper Belt Objects and return further data. The primary objectives are to characterize the geology and morphology of Pluto and Charon; map their surface composition; and characterize the atmosphere of Pluto and determine the rate at which it is escaping into space.
Hubble finds 'tenth planet' is slightly larger than Pluto
Release date: April 11, 2006
Though previous ground-based observations suggested that Xena was about 30 percent greater in diameter than Pluto, Hubble observations yield a diameter of 1,490 miles (with an uncertainty of 60 miles). Pluto's diameter, as measured by Hubble, is 1,422 miles.
OBJECT: Kuiper Belt object 2003 UB313 (nicknamed "Xena") and its satellite "Gabrielle"
SCIENCE CREDIT: NASA, ESA, and M. Brown (California Institute of Technology)
ILLUSTRATION CREDIT: NASA, ESA, and A. Schaller (for STScI)
Direct proof of dark matter
Release date: August 21, 2006
In this image of a galaxy cluster formed after the collision of two large clusters, the blue areas depict where astronomers find most of the mass in the clusters. Most of the matter (blue) is clearly separate from the "normal"(insert quotes) matter (pink), giving direct evidence that nearly all of the matter in the clusters is dark.
OBJECT: 1ES 0657-55.8
CREDIT: X-ray: NASA/CXC/M. Markevitch et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Magellan/U. Arizona/D. Clowe et al.; Lensing Map: NASA/STScI; ESO WFI; Magellan/U. Arizona/D. Clowe et al.
NASA scientist shares Nobel Prize for Physics
October 3, 2006
Dr. John C. Mather of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has won the 2006 Nobel Prize for Physics, awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. Mather shares the prize with George F. Smoot of the University of California for their collaborative work on understanding the Big Bang.
Super star clusters in the Antennae Galaxies
Release date: October 16, 2006
The two spiral galaxies started to interact a few hundred million years ago, making the Antennae galaxies one of the nearest and youngest examples of a pair of colliding galaxies. During the course of the collision, billions of stars will be formed. The brightest and most compact of these star birth regions are called super star clusters.
OBJECT: NGC 4038/4039, Antennae Galaxies
CREDIT: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
ACKNOWLEDGMENT: B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute)
Servicing Mission 4 is reinstated
October 31, 2006
NASA Administrator Michael Griffin reinstates Hubble Servicing Mission 4.
IMAGE: (From left to right) Mission Specialist Michael Massimino, Mission Specialist Michael Good, Pilot Gregory Johnson, Commander Scott Altman, Mission Specialist K. Megan McArthur, Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld and Mission Specialist Andrew Feustel