Skip to main content

Check out the first images sent by Hubble space telescope since reboot

The Hubble Space Telescope has beamed back fresh images of galaxies that NASA describes as “peculiar.”

The images are the first from Hubble since its reboot following a month-long loss of service during which scientists feared they may have lost the spacecraft for good.

Galaxies captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.
ARP-MADORE2115-273 (left) is a rarely observed pair of colliding galaxies in the southern hemisphere. These Hubble observations provide Hubble’s first high-resolution glimpse at this intriguing system. ARP-MADORE0002-503 (right) is a large spiral galaxy with unusual, extended spiral arms, at a distance of 490 million light-years. Its arms extend out to a radius of 163,000 light-years, making it three times more expansive than our Milky Way Galaxy. Credits: Science: NASA, ESA, STScI, Julianne Dalcanton (UW) Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI)

Thankfully, a fix was issued last week, enabling Hubble to resume its work. On Monday NASA shared the first images since Hubble’s revival, both showing distant galaxies as part of a University of Washington project aimed at surveying “oddball galaxies scattered across the sky.”

The image on the left actually shows two galaxies, collectively known as ARP-MADORE2115-273 — no, it doesn’t have the catchiest name — and is described by NASA as a rare example of an interacting galaxy pair in the southern hemisphere.

“These Hubble observations provide Hubble’s first high-resolution glimpse at this intriguing system, which is located 297 million light-years away,” the space agency said. Astronomers originally believed this was a “collisional ring” system because of the head-on merger of two galaxies, but the data from Hubble reveals that the continuing interaction between the galaxies is much more complex, resulting in what NASA describes as “a rich network of stars and dusty gas.”

Meanwhile, the right image shows ARP-MADORE0002-503 (another easy-to-recall name!), which the space agency calls “a large spiral galaxy with unusual, extended spiral arms.” The galaxy is some 490 million light-years from Earth and its arms reach out to a radius of 163,000 light-years, making it three times more expansive than our Milky Way Galaxy, NASA said, adding that this one is notable for having three spiral arms whereas most disk galaxies usually have an even number.

Hubble is the length of a large school bus and was launched by the space shuttle Discovery in 1990. The powerful telescope orbits about 340 miles (547 km) above Earth and, clear of our planet’s atmosphere that can block light from space, has been beaming back incredible images of distant places in our universe.

A mysterious glitch knocked the Hubble Space Telescope offline in June, prompting a huge effort by scientists to revive the 31-year-old spacecraft. The team managed to relaunch Hubble’s onboard science instruments at the weekend by switching to backup hardware.

Commenting on Hubble’s recent hitch, project leader Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington said, “I’ll confess to having had a few nervous moments during Hubble’s shutdown, but I also had faith in NASA’s amazing engineers and technicians.”

Dalcanton added, “Everyone is incredibly grateful, and we’re excited to get back to science.”

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Saturn as you’ve never seen it before, captured by Webb telescope
Saturn captured by the James Webb Space Telescope

NASA has shared a gorgeous image of Saturn captured recently by the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

Webb’s first near-infrared observations of the second largest planet in our solar system also show several of Saturn’s moons: Dione, Enceladus, and Tethys.

Read more
Check out these stunning images of SpaceX’s recent Starship test
SpaceX's Starship spacecraft during a test in June 2023.

As part of preparations for the second test flight of its Super Heavy rocket and Starship spacecraft, SpaceX this week performed a static fire test of the latter.

The exercise, which took place at SpaceX’s Starbase facility in Boca Chica, Texas, involved firing the Starship’s six engines for several seconds.

Read more
Hubble image of the week shows an unusual jellyfish galaxy
The jellyfish galaxy JO206 trails across this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, showcasing a colorful star-forming disk surrounded by a pale, luminous cloud of dust. A handful of foreground bright stars with crisscross diffraction spikes stands out against an inky black backdrop at the bottom of the image. JO206 lies over 700 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Aquarius.

This week's image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows an unusual type of galaxy named for its aquatic look-alike: a jellyfish.

The jellyfish galaxy JO206 is shown below in an image taken using Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 instrument. Located 700 million light-years away, in the constellation of Aquarius, this image of the galaxy shows both the bright center of the galaxy and its long tendrils reaching out toward the bottom right. It is these tendrils that give jellyfish galaxies their names, and they are formed through a process called ram pressure stripping.

Read more