Hubble captures birthday bubble

hubble-bubble

The Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7653, is an emission nebula located 11,000 light-years away. This stunning new image was observed by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to celebrate its 26th year in space.CREDIT NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team

This new NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, released to celebrate Hubble’s 26th year in orbit, captures in stunning clarity what looks like a gigantic cosmic soap bubble. The object, known as the Bubble Nebula, is in fact a cloud of gas and dust illuminated by the brilliant star within it. The vivid new portrait of this dramatic scene wins the Bubble Nebula a place in the exclusive Hubble hall of fame, following an impressive lineage of Hubble anniversary images.

Twenty six years ago, on 24 April 1990, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit aboard the space shuttleDiscovery as the first space telescope of its kind. Every year, to commemorate this momentous day in space history, Hubble spends a modest portion of its observing time capturing a spectacular view of a specially chosen astronomical object.

This year’s anniversary object is the Bubble Nebula, also known as NGC 7635, which lies 8 000 light-years away in the constellation Cassiopeia. This object was first discovered by William Herschel in 1787 and this is not the first time it has caught Hubble’s eye. However, due to its very large size on the sky, previous Hubble images have only shown small sections of the nebula, providing a much less spectacular overall effect. Now, a mosaic of four images fromHubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) allows us to see the whole object in one picture for the first time.

This complete view of the Bubble Nebula allows us to fully appreciate the almost perfectly symmetrical shell which gives the nebula its name. This shell is the result of a powerful flow of gas — known as a stellar wind — from the bright star visible just to the left of centre in this image. The star, SAO 20575, is between ten and twenty times the mass of the Sun and the pressure created by its stellar wind forces the surrounding interstellar material outwards into this bubble-like form.

The giant molecular cloud that surrounds the star — glowing in the star’s intense ultraviolet radiation — tries to stop the expansion of the bubble. However, although the sphere already measures around ten light-years in diameter, it is still growing, owing to the constant pressure of the stellar wind — currently at more than 100 000 kilometres per hour!

Aside from the symmetry of the bubble itself, one of the more striking features is that the star is not located at the centre. Astronomers are still discussing why this is the case and how the perfectly round bubble is created nonetheless.

The star causing the spectacular colourful bubble is also notable for something less obvious. It is surrounded by a complex system of cometary knots, which can be seen most clearly in this image just to the right of the star. The individual knots, which are generally larger in size than the Solar System and have masses comparable to Earth’s, consist of crescent shaped globules of dust with large trailing tails illuminated and ionised by the star. Observations of these knots, and of the nebula as a whole, help astronomers to better understand the geometry and dynamics of these very complicated systems.

As always, and twenty six years on, Hubble gives us much more than a pretty picture.

###

Advertisements

56 thoughts on “Hubble captures birthday bubble

  1. Our universe never ceases to amaze; what a spectacular place to live in and discover! For me personally, it points to a Creator who made it, and Who put earth in just the right spot to be able to see it.

  2. Well is it 8,000 or 11,000 ly away? Can’t be both, since it says the bubble is only 10 ly in diameter.

  3. About a week short of 26 years ago, the last thing I did at Goddard Space Flight Center, before we moved out of state, was to sit in a small break room and watch as they tried to open the Hubble’s solar panel.
    And after the time I had ran out, I left the center for the last time.

  4. The images provided by the Hubble are always fantastic and thought provoking. Quite humbling, in fact.
    In seeing such images, and contemplating their meaning, I have to admit that T.Fry’s comment (above) has a lot of merit.

  5. Just keep in mind Hubble was launched when NASA still had dreams.
    Now NASA has wet dreams of climate change, thanks to clowns at GISS carrying water for their political masters.
    And the James Webb telescope is so far over budget. Originally supposed to be less than $2B launch in 2011, is now over $8 B and climbing and might launch in 2018.
    But hey, at least NASA has its Muslim Outreach that Obama wanted for social engineering.

    • @ Joelobrian, I am praying that they get the James Webb telescope launched, I check on it at times and it is frustrating to follow the “progress”. It is a marvel and I hope they get it right, having to go to a LaGrange point means if it fails there would be no repairs as they did with Hubble ( no shuttle and way too far away) I hope it works.

  6. As i remember the story — one of the two giant lenses of the Hubble was ground wrong. (They took years to make and nobody noticed one was being ground to the wrong specs?) The error was discovered only after launch. The Hubble was basically an almost useless piece of space junk. PANIC!!!!! Then someone figured out that because the lens was solid and the distortion unvarying, it could be corrected through a little computer and math magic. So we celebrate the Hubble today and forget that beginning — one of the biggest of all technology screw ups.
    PS — I originally wrote the word “grinded” for “ground” but having misgivings I looked it up on the internet. It seems to me “grinded” should be proper but somehow “ground” fell into popular use.. Who am I to argue with the unlettered masses? Anyway, while looking it up I came across this. Just as we have a “flutter” of butterflies, a “murder” of crows or a “kettle” of vultures the name for a group of lesbians is a “grind” — a “grind” of lesbians.
    Eugene WR Gallun

    • If memory serves, they corrected Hubble’s astigmatism by removing one of the minor experiment modules and replacing it with a corrective lense.

      • MarkW — You know, I think your memory is better than mine. Thankyou. — Eugene WR Gallun

      • I believe that they have done some computer magic in recent years to enhance the resolution even further.

    • I remember the analysis at the time recognized that the optical flaw could have been corrected by a fairly simple optical test called the “knife-edge test.” This was omitted from the telescope test program as a cost-saving measure. That worked out so well…

  7. Amazing shots, truly remarkable structure, the sheer size of it!
    A little note on why it is blue, it’s refracted light. Refracted light changes colour.
    This is the same blue colour in supposed bending light shots, changing light colour is a property of refraction, but not gravitational lensing, a theory that cannot explain the change in light colour.
    As in this, lensing does not alter light’s colour refraction does,
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/11/A_Horseshoe_Einstein_Ring_from_Hubble.JPG
    Space is choc full of plasma, which alters light
    waves as they pass through it making the doppler red shift useless as we cant tell the difference between red shift and intrinsic red shift.
    Furthermore the equations derived from Relativity for light lensing, the exact same equations can be derived from classical refraction physics, but they never say that do they.
    Great photo, great work, yet more supporting evidence light does not bend in the vacuum of space

      • It’s a sphere so tenuous it’s invisible when viewed radially. Perhaps thats the trick with Dyson spheres, they are only economically viable when built of near vacuum out where the energy density to capture is very very low.

    • Some interesting work done by Paul Marmet in demonstrating that classical physics and quantum mechanics are more than adequate to the task of so called Relativistic computations and analyses. See for example his book (that you can read online),
      “Einstein’s Theory of Relativity versus Classical Mechanics”
      http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/einstein/index.html
      As for ‘gravitational lensing,’ he’s done some rather interesting work on that, too. As with climate science, I think that Marmet demonstrates that cosmological science is far from being settled. See these two reasonably short papers that actually demonstrate the “fact” that light has never been observed to be deflected by anything and that there is therefore no interaction between it and gravity:
      First paper:
      The Deflection of Light by the Sun’s Gravitational Field:
      An Analysis of the 1919 Solar Eclipse Expeditions.
      http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/einstein/appendix2.html
      (This excerpt of his book might better have been titled: The Failure of the Eddington and Dyson 1919 Solar Eclipse Expeditions: an Analysis by Paul Marmet, Ph.D)
      Second paper:
      Relativistic Deflection of Light Near the Sun Using Radio Signals and Visible Light — by P. Marmet and C. Couture
      http://www.newtonphysics.on.ca/eclipse/index.html
      Enjoy!
      –N

    • More changing light in space from refraction.
      http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/image/0908/cl0024images2_hst.jpg
      Now if we approach the subject with logical scientific thought, if there is more than one theory to explain a phenomenon then neither can claim to be proof (as best we have).
      Though I think they are not equal, gravitational lensing resides in theory still, whereas refraction is solid classical physics.
      These phenomenon can be explained in detail by physics we know to be empirical, we can replicate it in the lab, we see it in the atmosphere in sundogs and halos from ice crystals.
      Now I have read it argued that with all of the plasma in space (something Einstein was not aware of) then there obviously as light passes through plasma, it changes frequency as it changes density, it slows down, it slows down in the atmosphere as it gets refracted, and so on.
      As such no doppler effect is reliable so maybe many of the directions bodies are moving in and how fast, are wrong, it’s possible and should not be sniffed at.
      Then there is inflation red shift which is entirely theoretical and based on the same technological limits and knowledge.
      Over the past few years I have come to realise that it is possible we have many incorrect assumptions.
      If red shift is not reliable, a whole load of science goes down the pan, and a lot of life time careers with it

      • Mark, take a look at Seeing Red by Halton Arp. He compiled the Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies (https://ned.ipac.caltech.edu/level5/Arp/Arp_contents.html). He and many other observational astronomers have been pointing to gas lanes in many well known fields, e.g. NGC4258 and Makarian 205, that connect low-red shift, active nucleus (Seyfert) galaxies to very high red-shift QUASARS. Although his atlas is a standard reference in astronomy and many galaxies are designated by their Arp number, once he began questioning cosmological red shift he was systematically denied observation time (which actually have falsified the entire debate) and found papers blocked by resistant anonymous peer reviewers. The observational evidence of physical linkages between objects of profoundly different red shifts is an extraordinary problem if it is found to be real. The loss of a “ruler” for measuring great distances, combined with the fact that there is no alternate single theory raises considerable fear and loathing in many academic astronomers. If the standard model real is outright wrong, then the entire discipline is pushed back to a state of understanding comparable to that of the late 19th century. The observationally generated problems that resulted in the advancing of dark matter and dark energy are a direct result of the big-bang-expanding-universe model, which based on the use of cosmological red shifts to estimate distances. Distances could be overestimated by orders of magnitude while luminousities could off by even greater factors. That would in turn clobber things like the “estimated age” of the universe. It might even lead to a resurgence of the steady state theory, which Narlikar and Hoyle continued to argue for and whose adherents still do.

    • In my last image there you can clearly see the differences in frequency of the alleged banding light.
      You will note although they have different sources, the lights all have the same frequency range,
      To me I interpret this as the matter refracting the light has the same properties, as in it is common in space, plasma certainly explains this consistency.
      A paper on refraction over lens effects of gravity.
      http://arxiv.org/pdf/1004.1467.pdf
      Solid work, and explains the effects in physics we know to be valid

    • Sorry, but refraction does not, of itself, change the color of light (chromatic aberration being a different effect that still does not change the color of light). If it were so, eyeglasses and conventional cameras would never be color-true. Technicolor movies would have been a failure. Our own eyeballs would be liars. (I speak as one who developed optical quality control techniques for the manufacture of intra-ocular lenses.)
      The article states that the molecular clouds glow as a result of being irradiated by the star’s ultraviolet radiation, which is invisible. In other words, the clouds are fluorescent, glowing by “blacklight.”
      Plasma, similarly, does not alter light. Light passes right through it. What can happen, however, is that the plasma can glow if there is a source of energy to prevent its complete recombination.

      • M D
        Good to hear from someone with relevant experience.
        Two questions occur to me.
        Doesn’t a triangular prism separate colours by diffraction?
        If the solar wind is a gas expanding as it travels away from the sun, would this not be a transverse density gradient that would bend the light towards the sun? The mirage effect.
        Cheers

      • No one is saying actual refraction itself causes light to change, no doubt the same 3 latter name changing dude will leap on your false argument. “Good to hear from someone with relevant experience” is the so condemned appeal to authority we hear so much of on here.
        Density and make up of the matter light passes through changes colour.
        But you seem to miss the point, with no matter, just gravitational force, there is no change in light speed and colour. Yet with refraction that is indeed the case, light slows down and as it passes through matter, which varies in density, the light does change colour and seemingly from evidence in images, the range of colour is the same, which means the matter with the refraction properties are the common denominator.
        Someone, not you, needs to understand the difference between logical thought and “authority” lol
        I do not relate the article’s image to bending light refraction argument, just nothing that the colour you see, is caused by refracting light, and that you can take to the scientific bank. The matter is different to the matter we see refracting light in Einstein rings as this is a massive cloud of possibly dust plasma and particles.
        It was merely an example of refraction, not a direct comparison to alleged einstein rings.
        ghl thinks this subject is only for a core few who “have the experience”.
        he doesn’t get this is all entirely theoretical and borne of thought, and fleshed with mathematics, and actually not ANYthing borne of experience. ROFL
        No one has experience in Einstein rings or Astrological events billions of light years away, no one, I am gobsmacked by such an appeal to perceived authority on this of all sites

      • For ghl:
        (1) No, a prism separates colors by chromatic dispersion, which is a fancy way of saying that there is a different refractive index value for each wavelength. This is a property of the transmission medium. It does not involve changing any wavelength. A green ray going through a prism is unchanged; it is still a green ray. So also with an orange ray. They just have different degrees of deflection, which spreads white light out in the familiar rainbow spectrum. (It is, however, possible to show separation of colors by diffraction, e.g., by gratings.)
        (2) Yes, it would be a transverse density gradient–but the refractive index would be so utterly close to unity (because the densities are “vacuum” thin) that there would be no refractive index gradient to speak of. There are no mirages on the Moon. There are no mirages on Ceres. And I am sure there are no mirages on rocks orbiting in the Kuiper Belt.

      • MJD
        (1) My error, I said diffraction when I meant refraction. I agree that refraction separates colours without changing them.
        (2) Certainly a small effect but applied for a million kilometers. It seems to me that it would be definitely present to some degree, perhaps very small, but calculable. I have been unable to find any formula for refraction to even estimate magnitudes for the effect. Do you know any useful links?
        As to my use of “mirage” perhaps I should have said “the inverse of the effect that produces mirages” Sometimes I am so succinct I become cryptic. I have read that when the sun appears to be touching the horizon, it is actually just below the horizon but visible by photons refracted downward by the atmospheric density gradient. That is what I mean.

    • Now we do have observational science to also support refraction over lensing.
      Refraction observation
      https://tallbloke.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/nolensinggaussianspheres.jpg
      What Relativity predicts compared to observation.
      http://www.extinctionshift.com/SolarBending_ImpactParameter_animation.gif
      Light is observed not bending in the vacuum of space, but bending by refraction.
      Gravitational lensing is a failed theory of dogma
      observational evidence over mathematical modeling all day folks.

      • I don find it interesting that there as many entrenched beliefs in astrophysics as there are in climate science.
        Some actually find it repugnant and personally offensive to be disagreeing with SR and GR respectively, I have made budding astrophysicists both angry, and question their own career path lol.
        Two supposed all encompassing theories that can contemplate neither force or acceleration\deceleration are supposed to explain the universe.
        This leads to absolutely ludicrous things like Pulsars and Neutron stars (spinning 1,5 times faster than a dentists drill yet dont fly apart) << insanity

    • No, dust is never plasma. And molecular gas clouds may or may not be plasma. They might just be gas clouds. I have to wonder where you get your confidence to correct others on points of which you are ignorant.

      • of course plasma is the fourth state of matter, solid fluid gas plasma.
        if there is abundant plasma and that is almost certainly true, then there are Neutrinos in vast quantities in areas of space claimed to be completely empty, Neutrinos do have mass, albeit tiny mass (or rest mass if you are a relativist). So if there is mass that light must pass through, it will alter the frequency of light, so even Neutrinos can affect light and alter it’s perceived doppler effect as well as changing the colour and path of light.
        But my whole point about this is that with two explanations for “light bending” one cannot claim that the perceived and interpreted effects we see as supporting relativity, that is simply a logical conclusion.
        Though I have seen people try use the Muons argument to prove relativity which is a logical fallacy.
        The light clock theoretical proof has also been picked apart, and it actually males no sense.
        Relativity’s space time is a pseudo force like the Coriolis effect, which is just a grouping of Newtonian mechanics physics coupled into an easier equation to use, the Coriolis effect is not actually a real physical force. It’s a nicely packaged set of equations derived from Newtonian physics.
        It is worth pointing out when Einstein first published special relativity, it could not and did not deal with or understand acceleration, so general relativity was cooked up to explain the shortcomings of his theory.
        Now as an example, you try tell me how you can measure force with relativity? Gravitational force?You cant, you need Newton.
        A few signs should alert one to the case of an incomplete and wrong theory.
        1 Special relativity doesn’t understand acceleration.
        2 Relativity does not understand forces
        in a physical world, a theory that cannot understand two basic well established principles of physics is not valid

      • There is also a story of the Einstein’s fudge factor. First he didn’t have it in, his theory was totally rejected, then he got it in (admitting it was nonsense) but it made him most important person on this side of god. Now they are saying that the ‘fudge factor’ indeed is a nonsense and it needs to be taken out.
        So who was fooling whom all these years?

      • Mark, your insistence about “dust plasma” makes as much sense as “solid gas.” It is not a reality.
        And “abundant plasma” in space is, in practice, thinner than the vacuum you can produce in a high school bell jar. The speed of light in a substance (the basis of refraction) is determined by the density of free electrons. For sea level air, it is very small. For the upper atmosphere, it is essentially non-existent. For the interplanetary medium, it is really non-existent. For the interstellar medium, it is really, really non-existent. Need I progress to the intergalactic medium? If you know what you are talking about, provide us a value for the refractive index of these plasma clouds, and a source reference to back it up.
        And I will repeat, refraction, of itself, does not change light wavelength. I should know. My graduate work involved a gas dynamic machine that was designed to refract a laser beam through 180 degrees of a circular path, by causing an intense radial refractive index gradient. No change in wavelength, and no expectation of same. Give it up.
        Also, neutrinos have never been shown to possess mass. Everyone suspects it must be so, but all the experiments result in “…cannot detect below [very small mass quantity].” Yes, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence…but the burden of proof is on those who assert that the neutrino does have mass.
        The Coriolis effect may not be “a real physical force,” but it is enough to drive cyclonic air circulation and cause sideways pushing when people want to stand up in centrifuges. For that matter, centripetal acceleration is not “a real physical force,” but we commonly have to design to bear its effects. Sometimes, you have to realize that a force is simply what happens when we accelerate a mass (no flashy lightning bolts or wiggly magnetic fields required).
        None of the above has anything to do with relativity, so please don’t argue that it does.

  8. Interesting conversation.
    This is why I love this site.
    I keep learning all kinds of stuff that I didn’t even know I didn’t know.
    I look forward to lots more!

    • True mate, and sadly, you wont read any conflicting arguments found here on science media or NASA websites, and no one will admit hawking spent a decade talking garbage about singularities and black holes, utter nonsense that consumed the scientific world for decades

  9. vukcevic
    April 23, 2016 at 5:03 am
    There is also a story of the Einstein’s fudge factor. First he didn’t have it in, his theory was totally rejected, then he got it in (admitting it was nonsense) but it made him most important person on this side of god. Now they are saying that the ‘fudge factor’ indeed is a nonsense and it needs to be taken out.
    So who was fooling whom all these years?
    Pretty much, Einstein’s cosmological constant is rubbish, remember Einstein thought the universe was in fact the Milky way for one, and never knew about so much plasma, or the dynamic nature of the universe (you see when resolved Einsteins equations produce an empty universe).
    what beggars belief is, even though we do actually know what Mass is, we have the gall to claim mass, gravity and so on are uniform throughout the universe, how bloody arrogant is that!

    • One possible example might be the recent ESA landing Rosetta mission, the craft bounced three times on landing because the density of the object was not correctly calculated..
      This may have been because they thought rock was in fact snowy dirt, a real possibility but also, gravity and mass could have been different to what we expected too, though I swing toward the former rather than the latter, comets are not dirty snowballs, that theory is rubbish and debunked by Temple 1 mission and Rosetta mission, and actually the impacts on Jupiter in recent years, there were flashes before asteroid parts impacted Jupiter, as there was a big flash right before the NASA projectile actually hit Temple 1.
      And just recently we have seen a passing body electrically alter the Martian atmosphere.
      I find all this stuff exciting, that the same old bland explanations are being cracked up, but then again, I have not invested 30 years of my life in a theory. 😀

  10. I have my concerns about wave particle duality logic and interpretations too if I am totally honest.
    Now I am thinking out loud here and not stating any scientific certainties.
    A wave is a projected path, a particle is a measurement of something at a fixed point.
    You cant measure both with the same single measurement instrument, you need to independent observations.
    Now take the human eye, it is out peripheral vision that gives us a trajectory or (wave) of an object by measuring procession, which is essentially the brain plotting a series of positions of an object. This lets us swat a passing fly, now if you were to focus on that fly, you are not going to see it’s path and be able to hit it. With larger objects this is possibly but ONLY because the object extends from your focus into the area of peripheral vision, that is there are still two separate observations being made by the brain using the human eye.
    So, with our vision a fly is a wave and a particle as it were, a static stationary object as focus perceives an image, and peripheral takes unfocused series of positions on a trajectory.
    But does it actually mean the fly is a wave and a particle because the same applies to particles (I do not see the split screen experiment as actual proof of the concept) though the outcome of experiments are well worthy of thought on the matter, it is one of the most interesting physics questions out there as to why this happens and there are some valid questions, as in the experiment is part responsible for the outcome, and not “that watching changes a wave to a particle” but rather the physical interaction of the experiment equipment is affecting the outcome in an as of yet unknown manner.
    So, in a nutshell, my rambling is about whether wave particle duality is yet another human construct of intuitive thinking based on something very natural to the way we see the world and process data from our own eyes?
    Again my only caveat is, the experiment mentioned, that needs to be the focus of inquiry to either validate it or invalidate it. I suspect the very experiment is causing the outcome and our interpretation is filling is the rest.
    Lol I do ramble, I repeat this is just thinking aloud

    • You don’t prove anything by referencing the eye. The retina works the same for peripheral vision as for central (foveal) vision. The fovea is different from the retina in that it has only cone cells and no rod cells, which means it does not function well or at all in dark-adapted circumstances. This gives rise to the “blind spot” effect at low light levels: if you want to see something in low light levels, don’t look directly at it, but rather to one side. It has nothing to do with particles and waves.
      But photons can be measured as both particles and waves by taking the result of a diffraction pattern (wave) and projecting it across photographic film or a charge-coupled device (CCD) for detection (particle). Over time, the accumulation of detections will create the known diffraction intensity pattern.

      • well I never trued to prove anything by referencing the eye.
        I simply used an analogy that is all.
        What I said re how we judge a frame and moving frame are accurate, the make up of the eye is irrelevant in what Is say and only the way the human brain processes the data is relevant and how we interpret it as this is how we interact with the physical world
        I never said eyes and how we process image data have anything to do with waves and particles either.
        electromagnetism travels in waves, the waves are made of photons. Photons have segments of wave, with energy and wavelength, but they are still quantised packets, not waves themselves just as HO2 molecules are not small waves of ocean.

  11. I wonder does anyone really believe in neutron stars? neutron stars are the epitome of self delusion an defies physics, just like so much else in astronomy.
    “strange matter”, I almost wet myself when i read up on strange matter, gobbledygook pure rubbish.
    When Neutrons wont adhere to fantasy, create a new matter out of thin air, like Dark matter.
    RUBBISH

  12. http://www.nature.com/news/measurement-of-universe-s-expansion-rate-creates-cosmological-puzzle-1.19715
    Interpreted expansion faster than background radiation says.
    Or in other words, more contradiction of big bang theory that everyone will ignore.
    “For years, those predictions have disagreed with direct measurements of the current rate of cosmic expansion — also known as the Hubble constant. But until now the error margins in this constant were large enough that the disagreement could be ignored.”

Comments are closed.