Photos from the Hubble telescope are out of this world. For decades this trusty telescope has pushed the limits of space exploration and furthered scientific discovery. Since its launch in 1990 and five reparative space missions, Hubble has delivered some of the coolest photos in existence. These pictures are some of the best insights we mere earthlings have into the vast and incredibly overwhelming depths of our universe. Although contemplating space, time, or black matter may launch even the strongest among us into an existential crisis, these Hubble photos are well worth a peek - you might actually get sucked in.
In this photo, Hubble captured a star in its final years of life. When a star dies, layers of hydrogen and helium are shed from the star's center, causing it to dim. These layers are the bright, spherical bubbles surrounding the core. The older the star, the wider its spherical output.
The pillars featured here extend over 5 light years and are made up of a mixture of cold hydrogen and dust. They are wombs in which stars form and grow, in the midst of the Eagle Nebula. The stars around the towers are young and burning brightly, shrouding the towers in their ultraviolet light.
The Sombrero galaxy is a muse for many scientists. It is seen tilted from Earth at about six degrees north of its equatorial plane. And although the spiral galaxy's light magnitude prevents the human eye from seeing it, it is easily spotted with a telescope. Sombrero is one of the most massive features in the Virgo cluster; it's the size of about 800 billion suns and is 30 million light years from our planet.
Like a kaleidoscope, the Cat Eye's Nebula is mesmerizing. Planetary nebulas form when the outer layers of gas are emitted from the central stars. This emission causes intricate shapes and patterns to emerge in bright and varying colors. This particular planetary nebula is one of the first discovered and remains one of the most complicated to date. Understanding the varying aspects of a Cat Eye Nebula is complicated because of its layered composition; it is sometimes referred to as a Russian nesting doll structure.