Cosmic landscape

Cosmic landscape

Image of NGC 3324. Image: NASA, ESA, STScI/AURA

To mark its 10th anniversary, the Hubble Heritage Project has released a striking image of NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula

Ten years ago, the Hubble Heritage Project was launched to help bridge the gap between science and the general public and spark interest in astronomy. The project, based at the Space Telescope Science Institute (Baltimore), has set itself the task of reworking images taken with the Hubble telescope to make them aesthetically interesting and to present the universe from an artistic perspective.

For the tenth anniversary, the members of the group have presented an image of the region NGC 3324 in the constellation Carina. NGC 3324 is located in the northwestern corner of the Carina Nebula, a site of intense star formation, is 7.200 light years away from the Earth. The section of the Carinanebula is shown as a "landscape image" of the cosmos with "Globes and talers" from gas and dust in front of a blue glowing sky thought. On the left, a finger or a nipple could also be seen, making the "Landscape" could also become a lying body.

Image detail

The nebula is compressed by the strong stellar wind coming from some bright young stars and a strong ultraviolet radiation. Massive stars, not visible in the image, ionize the nebula and have created the cavity. According to scientists, cold and dark gas and dust formations rise into the sky above the wall of fog. The destructive radiation emitted by the young, bright stars in the nebula will gradually decompose the nebula.

The image was assembled from data from two Hubble cameras. The Advanced Camera for Survery (ACS) captured light emanating from hydrogen in 2006, while the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) captured light emanating from sulfur and oxygen in 2008. In the picture red points to sulfur, blue to oxygen and green to hydrogen.

Cosmic landscape

Image of the Carina Nebula. Image: NASA, ESA, Digitized Sky Survey and Z. Levay (STScI)

Due to Hurricane Ike, the launch of the Atlantis mission to repair the Hubble telescope initially had to be postponed to 14. October be postponed. Cameras and batteries need to be replaced. For this purpose 5 astronauts’ missions are foreseen. It is supposed to be the fourth and last maintenance mission of the telescope, which has produced numerous fascinating images of space since 1990. However the maintenance must be postponed now once again, since last Sunday serious problems with the data transmission developed. A reboot failed, now Nasa scientists must try to rotate the telescope and activate another storage and transmission unit, apparently a delicate task. The repair mission has now been postponed until 2009.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *