Learn about the discovery of several stars in space and black holes by the Hubble space telescope.
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When NASA’s Hubble Telescope was launched in 1990, the scientific community and the public eagerly awaited the discoveries that would be made by the orbiting telescope. The galaxy closest to our own Milky Way is a favorite target for the Hubble known as the Large Magellanic Cloud, its home to Supernova 19878 which provided one of the telescopes earliest and most intriguing discoveries. This supernova was the result of a huge explosion which catapulted a tremendous amount of neutrinos into interstellar space. Planetary Nebula forms a star like our own sun but run out of nuclear fuel collapse and die. Thousands of these are know in our own and other galaxies but they’ve never been imaged before. The most massive star known is also found in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Melnick 42 is a giant star that is equally match to 100 stars like our sun. The most powerful ground based observatories are unable to distinguish the thousands of densely packed stars in globular clusters. The Hubble Space Telescope allows astronomers to study these tightly knit collections of old stars with unprecedented clarity. Hubble’s capability has led to the discovery of a unique class of star called blue stragglers in the core of 1globular cluster. The telescope also provided astronomers with a rare opportunity to observe a white spot on Saturn. The spot was later deemed to be a storm, somewhat like a thunderstorm on earth. Several space telescope images were taken during Saturn’s 10-hour rotation period. The images were combined to provide a movie of the turbulent activity in Saturn’s atmosphere. These new data is extremely valuable for people trying to understand how atmospheres work which in turn has a long term practical application for us because that’s how we improve our weather forecasting. It’s hoped that telescopes may confirm much of the speculation concerning black holes. A black hole is an object, typically, a collapsed star whose gravity is so strong that its velocity exceeds the speed of light. Previously, black holes observed by Hubble have been largely hidden from view because they are embedded inside a torus, a donut-shaped distribution of dust that forms a partial cocoon around the black hole. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has now provided a never before seen view of a warped disk or ring of dust caught in a blazing torrent of ultraviolet light from a suspected massive black hole. In galaxies previously studied, the intense light from super hot gas entrapped by the black hole’s powerful gravitational field shines out from inside the donut hole of the torus and is restricted to a narrow beam like a search light. Observations by Hubble are continuing to advance our knowledge of the universe.
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