Cosmic events are something that keeps happening with fiery explosions of gas and radiation. Thanks to telescopes like the NASA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers are able to capture such larger-than-life occurring. On the occasion of the Hubble telescope’s 30th birthday, it has unveiled a stunning new portrait of a firestorm of star birth in a neighboring galaxy.
The new image shows two young nebulas in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), an attached galaxy of the Milky Way located about 163,000 light-years away. NASA researchers have dubbed this image the “Cosmic Reef” for its resemblance to a coral reef in Earth’s oceans – bursting with color and life but hidden just beyond the reach of human sight.
With just five percent of the mass of the Milky Way, LMC contains where minuscule, baby stars are forming. According to NASA’s blog post, the one nebulas captured by the Hubble telescope here are ‘stellar nurseries’. While it’s looked at as baby stars, these stars are in fact, at least 10 times more massive than Earth’s Sun and significantly much brighter.
As shown in the image, these stunning colors are a result of the radiation from these stars which in turn makes the surrounding stars to glow. NASA explains that these massive, baby stars are also driving powerful winds of charged particles, which are sculpting out the bubble and ridge structures we can see across the nebula.
Celebrating NASA Hubble Space Telescope
On April 24, 1990, Hubble was launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to begin its long mission of peering into the deepest reaches of space. Since then, it’s been crucial equipment to help discover and better understand our universe.
“Hubble has given us stunning insights about the universe, from nearby planets to the farthest galaxies we have seen so far,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “It was revolutionary to launch such a large telescope 30 years ago, and this astronomy powerhouse is still delivering revolutionary science today. Its spectacular images have captured the imagination for decades, and will continue to inspire humanity for years to come.”
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