Hubble scores a perfect ten

Oct 30, 2008
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is back in business. Just a couple of days after the orbiting observatory was brought back online, Hubble aimed its prime working camera, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), at a particularly intriguing target, a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147. The two galaxies happen to be oriented so that they appear to mark the number 10. The left-most galaxy, or the "one" in this image, is relatively undisturbed, apart from a smooth ring of starlight. It appears nearly edge-on to our line of sight. The right-most galaxy, the "zero" of the pair, exhibits a clumpy, blue ring of intense star formation. Credit: NASA, ESA and M. Livio (STScI)

(PhysOrg.com) -- The Hubble Space Telescope is back in business after a one-month breakdown with a snapshot of the fascinating galaxy pair Arp 147. Scientists made two repair attempts, and last week's effort apparently worked.

Just a couple of days after the orbiting observatory was brought back online, Hubble aimed its prime working camera, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), at a particularly intriguing target, a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147.

The image demonstrated that the camera is working exactly as it was before going offline, thereby scoring a "perfect 10" both for performance and beauty.

And literally "10" for appearance too, due to the chance alignment of the two galaxies. The left-most galaxy, or the "one" in this image, is relatively undisturbed, apart from a smooth ring of starlight. It appears nearly edge-on to our line of sight. The right-most galaxy, the "zero" of the pair, exhibits a clumpy, blue ring of intense star formation.

The blue ring was formed after the galaxy on the left passed through the galaxy on the right. Just as a pebble thrown into a pond creates an outwardly moving circular wave, or ripples, an outwardly propagating ring of higher density was generated at the point of impact of the two galaxies. As this excess density collided with outer material that was moving inwards due to the gravitational pull of the two galaxies, shocks and dense gas were produced, stimulating star formation.

The dusty reddish knot at the lower left of the blue ring probably marks the location of the original nucleus of the galaxy that was hit.

Arp 147 appears in the Arp Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies, compiled by Halton Arp in the 1960s and published in 1966. This picture was assembled from WFPC2 images taken with three separate filters. The colours blue, green, and red represent the blue, visible-light, and infrared filters respectively.

The galaxy pair was photographed on 27-28 October 2008. Arp 147 lies in the constellation of Cetus, more than 400 million light-years away from Earth.

Provided by Hubble Information Centre

Explore further: Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pushy neighbors force stellar twins to diverge

Apr 15, 2014

(Phys.org) —Much like an environment influences people, so too do cosmic communities affect even giant dazzling stars: Peering deep into the Milky Way galaxy's center from a high-flying observatory, Cornell ...

Supernova cleans up its surroundings

Apr 10, 2014

(Phys.org) —Supernovas are the spectacular ends to the lives of many massive stars. These explosions, which occur on average twice a century in the Milky Way, can produce enormous amounts of energy and ...

Chance meeting creates celestial diamond ring

Apr 09, 2014

Astronomers using ESO's Very Large Telescope in Chile have captured this eye-catching image of planetary nebula PN A66 33—usually known as Abell 33. Created when an aging star blew off its outer layers, ...

Sakurai's Object: Stellar evolution in real time

Apr 02, 2014

(Phys.org) —Stellar lifetimes are measured in billions of years, so changes in their appearance rarely take place on a human timescale. Thus an opportunity to observe a star passing from one stage of life ...

Rumours fly that gravitational waves have been detected

Mar 17, 2014

Last week the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) stated rather nonchalantly that they will be hosting a press conference on Monday, March 17th, to announce a "major discovery." Without a potential ...

Recommended for you

Quest for extraterrestrial life not over, experts say

6 hours ago

The discovery of an Earth-sized planet in the "habitable" zone of a distant star, though exciting, is still a long way from pointing to the existence of extraterrestrial life, experts said Friday. ...

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

10 hours ago

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Exoplanets soon to gleam in the eye of NESSI

13 hours ago

(Phys.org) —The New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument (NESSI) will soon get its first "taste" of exoplanets, helping astronomers decipher their chemical composition. Exoplanets are planets ...

User comments : 13

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (4) Oct 30, 2008
YAHOO! what about some shots of the moon?
holmstar
3.8 / 5 (4) Oct 30, 2008
we already have high-res images of the moon... what do you expect to find?
earls
5 / 5 (3) Oct 30, 2008
Besides, I don't think YAHOO! is responsible for shots of the moon. :)
deatopmg
1 / 5 (7) Oct 30, 2008
we already have high-res images of the moon... what do you expect to find?


Hi res images NOT altered by JPL. Search for moon images. look at how they have been selectively blurred in places. This is especially true of older ones where the masking technology was not as good as today. For really old ones see if you can find those same photo's released by the USSR. Note the differences.

Look at the "Official" back side of the moon today, 10 yrs ago, 20 yrs ago, 30 yrs ago, the old Soviet pictures. Compare them. You probably won't need me to answer your question after you've done those tasks.

All these photo's and more are available on line.
gopher65
4.8 / 5 (5) Oct 30, 2008
FFS man. Hubble is simply not big enough to see anything significant at that distance. At least, not the size that you're looking for. At the distance of the moon a telescope like Hubble could have a maximum resolution of something like a few hundred metres per pixel. What exactly do you expect to see at that resolution?

Conspiracy theorists are universally idiots.
yyz
5 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2008
Check out the original 5m (200 inch) Arp photo @ http://tinyurl.com/2dg5y3 and look for Arp 147, then click on the galaxy's image for a large GIF image. How far we've come since 1966!
yyz
5 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2008
For great HST images of all types (including Arp 147) check out the HST page @ http://hubblesite...a/.Every size from wallpaper to huge hi-res TIFF files are available at this site for most images. Other HASA images from myriad missions are available in a plethora of resolutions, though. Good luck hunting !
yyz
5 / 5 (1) Oct 30, 2008
@gopher65, while I agree with your overall assessment of super-high res not being possible with Hubble or any other scope, just a casual glance of the image shows the open-on (O shaped) galaxy to be in a starburst state while the other, edge-on ring galaxy is curiously quiet and not rapidly forming new stars and star clusters. A very curious and telling observation of this weird system.
yyz
not rated yet Oct 30, 2008
The edge-on ring galaxy also has a faintly bluish ring & nucleus, but all new star formation in it appears to have recently ceased. The E-O ring galaxy's nucleus also exhibits a peculiar absorption lane. With all the starburst activity in the face-on galaxy, it appears that it may have stripped neutral hydrogen from its edge-on companion, fueling its current starburst phase. Quite a remarkable image !
TrustTheONE
4 / 5 (2) Oct 31, 2008
Are you nuts?? Dont you know waht it is??? ITS A STARGATE!!!!
deatopmg
4 / 5 (1) Oct 31, 2008
Gopher65 thanks for clearing that up!
gopher65
5 / 5 (1) Nov 01, 2008
Sorry for sounding so cross, but I see a lot of posts like that. If people want to see what is on the moon in close detail then an orbiter needs to be sent. And, IIRC, there are several planned orbiters over the next decade that will have a high enough resolution to pick out the remnants of the lunar landers.
SmartK8
5 / 5 (1) Nov 03, 2008
For all the conspirationists check out the results of the KAGUYA at http://tinyurl.com/2vvqz3 select TC in the upper menu (as in Terrain Camera). Check out the Appolo 15 landing site (picture 4/4). Pretty close enough for the NASA don't you think.

More news stories

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...