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 crises, these Hubble photos are well worth a peek - you might actually get sucked in.
A Cosmic Cat Eye
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.
Horsehead Nebula Rearing in Space
The Horsehead Nebula, or Barnard 33, rears its head in the midst of the constellation Orion. The mushroom cap of gas and dust is captured here by Hubble in infrared light. The use of this light causes the gas to appear softer and more intricate, where using normal light would result in a denser and less detailed composition. Although the image appears fluffy, it is far from dissipating. Scientists predict the main pillar in the nebula will exist for another 5 million years.
Pillars of Eagle Nebula
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 Death of a Star
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.