Season’s Greetings from Hubble

By Phil Plait | December 20, 2006 2:21 pm

The good folks at Hubble Space Telescope put together this pretty picture (click for a much higher-res version) of a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a companion galaxy to our own Milky Way. Even from 165,000+ light years away, Hubble was able to see stars smaller and fainter than the Sun.

Besides being pretty, this picture is a little different from most Hubble images because it’s only two color! Usually, the images you see are composites made from images taken using three or more filters, so they mimic the my way our eye sees color. This one has only two, so while it’s not "true" color, it’s still very pretty.

Oh– if you’re still looking for holiday cards to send, Hubble has you covered there too.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Astronomy, Cool stuff, NASA, Science

Comments (19)

  1. NTB Heliochromologist George

    Wow!! Simply beautiful and clever… and artistic and appropriate for the season and admirable… ok, it’s not so simple but wonderful advanced just as it is advanced.

  2. Todd

    Thanks for the new wallpaper! Beautiful.

  3. bassmanpete

    In a similar vein, a friend sent me the following link yesterday. Make sure your sound is turned on. My firewall & anti-virus software passed it as safe to visit.

  4. AstroSmurf

    The link is somewhat broken. This link will probably work better.

  5. oldamatuerastronomer

    Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!!

    I wish I was in the Southern Hemisphere so I could see the LMC and SMC. Oh well.

    While examining the image I saw all the the background galaxies that were also captured. Galaxies were my favorite targets when I could go out with my ‘scope. Saw all of them in the Messier list and quite a few in the Herschel list.

    But, oh, to see those as captured in the Deep and Ultra deep fields as captured by the Hubble. Am looking forward to waht be done once the NGST goes up!!

  6. spacewriter

    We used six of the HST card designs for our christmas card-letter this year. They’re great!

  7. Here’s what I find cool in these sorts of images is this:

    Galaxies viewed THROUGH another galaxy. I think this sort of thing has been mentioned before, but it’s still cool. I just did a very cursory glance and I could see the ones I circled. In more slow moments, I’ll probably go over it more closely for fun.

  8. Heh, I guess I should read the comments first, someone else also finds this cool :)

  9. Angry McHatevrything

    Thanks! Now my non-religious celebration of the planet making yet another boring revolution around the sun can begin, but with even more heartless mediocrity than the previous year, all thanks to your vaguely aesthetically pleasing pictures of star clusters that for all we know could have been sucked into a supermassive black hole eons ago! Fantastic! Oh, and merry nothing, because I forgot that scientists don’t celebrate anything but maybe birthdays and JAMES RANDI and especially not holidays because they have the world “holy” in the title and that causes scientists to spontaneously combust like vampires in sunlight! Ho ho ho.

  10. celebration of the planet making yet another boring revolution around the sun can begin

    personally, I prefer that the planet make another boring revolution around the sun.

    I’m not sure I want to be on the planet when said revolution becomes “interesting” in a substantial way.

  11. oldamatuerastronomer

    Evolving Squid, I could see possibly 3 to 5 others that you did not mark, but then it is hard to see them through all the stars in front of them! Some might be faint stars picked up by the Hubble, but did not have visible diffraction spikes due to their magnitude.

    Nonetheless, it shows we live in a LARGE universe!!!!!!!!

  12. oas:

    I agree, there are almost certainly more than the ones I circled. The edge-on galaxies trip me up in a busy image like that… are they galaxies, or some oblong structure in the foreground object?

    Still, all those circles, and that’s just the obvious ones!

    And if there is life on a planet around 1 in 1 trillion stars, there’s enough galaxies showing there to suggest there’s at least one other planet with life on it somewhere in the circled bits.

  13. jasonB

    Dear Mr. McHateverything
    Thank you for one of the funniest posts I’ve seen in a long time.
    Merry Solstice

  14. The Hubble greeting cards are puzzling. A nice picture of Mars, with the word “Peace.”

    What sentiment is being conveyed here? “Peace on Mars, and goodwill toward…” –what?

  15. Irishman

    Bill Higgins– Beam Jockey said:
    >“Peace on Mars, and goodwill toward…” –what?

    Robotic explorers. 😉


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