Science Photos

Galaxy GN-z11 and 10 more iconic images from Hubble Space Telescope

Launched April 24, 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope remains a major symbol for NASA more than 25 years later. Following is a look at some stellar images covering the birth of stars to the telescope itself.

Astronomers say they have discovered a star-popping galaxy farther than any previously detected

After more than 25 years in space, this image from the Hubble remains one of its most iconic. The so-called Pillars of Creation depicts a jet-like feature astronomers say has grown by about 60 billion miles based on comparisons of pictures taken between 1995 and 2014. The Hubble was launched on April 24, 1990. (NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/Reuters)

GN-z11 is the most distant galaxy found to date

This image released by NASA on Thursday shows the Galaxy GN-z11, in the inset, as it was 13.4 billion years ago, just 400 million years after the Big Bang, when the universe was only three per cent of its current age. The galaxy is ablaze with bright, young, blue stars, but looks red in this image because its light has been stretched to longer spectral wavelengths by the expansion of the universe.


A cosmic nursery of stars

A cluster of about 3,000 stars called Westerlund 2, located about 20,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Carina, is seen in this image released by NASA on April 23, 2015, a day ahead of the Hubble Space Telescope's 25th anniversary.


Helium gas coughs

U Camelopardalis, or U Cam for short, is a star nearing the end of its life located in the Giraffe constellation near the celestial North Pole. As it begins to run low on fuel, instability within the star's core creates coughs of helium gas every few thousand years. This one was captured by Hubble in 2012.

H. Olofsson/NASA/ESA/Reuters

Death of a star

Images of Eta Carinae, a dying star in our Milky Way galaxy, led scientists to conclude in a 2007 article in the journal Nature that a similarly sized star went supernova some 78 million light years from Earth and wiped out a star 100 times the size of our sun.


The ant nebula

From ground-based telescopes, this cosmic object — the glowing remains of a dying, sun-like star — resembles the head and thorax of an ant. The image, released in 2001, of the so-called ant nebula, otherwise known as Menzel 3, shows far greater detail revealing a pair of fiery lobes protruding from the dying star.


Star cluster NGC 2060

This composite image, released as part of Hubble's 22nd launch anniversary in 2012, shows the star cluster NGC 2060, located in the heart of the Tarantula Nebula some 170,000 light-years away, in the Large Magellanic Cloud — a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The cluster was created by a supernova that exploded about 10,000 years ago, according to NASA.

NASA/ESA/Space Telescope Science Institute/Reuters

Galaxies merging

In 2006, this Hubble-captured image of the merging Antennae galaxies offered one of the first high-resolution glimpses of the birth of billions of stars. The brightest and most dense areas of the image show super star clusters representing some of the newest material in space.

B. Whitmore/NASA/ESA/Space Telescope Science Institute (ESA/Hubble, and B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute)/Reuters)

Intergalactic weather

This ethereal NASA illustration from 2013 shows a close-up of cosmic clouds and stellar winds in the Orion Nebula.

NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team/Reuters

Are we alone in the universe?

Jupiter and Ganymede, one of its moons, are shown in this NASA image taken in April 2007. The image helped scientists determine that Ganymede had an ocean beneath its icy surface, raising the prospects for finding life beyond Earth.

E. Karkoschka/NASA/ESA/Reuters (NASA/ESA and E. Karkoschka/Handout via Reuters)

A Canadian connection

The Canadarm-equipped space shuttle Atlantis links up with Hubble for the last time in 2009. Used to launch the Hubble in 1990, the last space-going Canadarms were retired along with the space shuttles in 2011. Hubble's final servicing could see the telescope through until 2020. Its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled for launch in 2018.