Posted in astronomy, electronic imaging and displays, physics

The latest from Hubble:

Pretty amazing! The images were taken by the Advanced Camera for Surveys instrument before it suffered a power failure in 2007. The images were recovered when astronauts restored the unit in May of this year on the last Hubble Servicing Mission. Both are deep enough to show distant background galaxies.

High-res version of the top photo (40 MB): NGC 4522
High-res version of the  bottom photo (29 MB): NGC 4402

These photos are actually amazing for two reasons:

1. Hubble has once again wowed us with the beauty of nature, and without even trying to has created images the likes of which we’ve only seen in science fiction. The assumption often made, including by this website, is that art has to be manmade. And technically this is; it is an electronic image created by humans for non-altruistic/not-directly-related-to-survival purposes. BUT, sometimes it’s also amazing to just sit back and look at nature, including galaxies far far away, and just be amazed at the gloriousness of the world(s) around us.

2. These photos show the process of “ram pressure stripping,” or basically what happens when galaxies travel at 6.2 million miles per hour (astronomers estimate): their edges start flying off into the nether regions of the Universe.

Wired and Bad Astronomy discussed this phenomenon a little bit.

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Author:

Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.

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