The Hubble Space Telescope is approaching its retirement date when it is replaced by the James Webb Telescope later this year, but it’s still working hard and uncovering more of the secrets of the universe.
And Hubble, of the US space agency NASA in cooperation with the European Space Agency, took an almost incredible image of a galaxy 80 million light-years away from Earth, which depicts the “explosion of stars.”
The spiral galaxy, known as NGC 4666, is about 80 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo.
NGC 4666 is known as the “starburst galaxy” due to the fact that it forms stars quickly, according to a statement released by NASA.
The agency suggests that the starburst NGC 4666 is likely due to gravitational interactions with its runaway neighbors, including the nearby galaxy NGC 4668 and the dwarf galaxy, a small galaxy made up of a few billion stars.
“The star-forming explosion of NGC 4666 is driving an unusual form of extreme galactic weather known as superwinds, a massive transport of gas from the galaxy’s bright central core into space,” NASA added.
These “super winds” are the result of winds from dying star gases and energetic supernova explosions.
NASA scientists have observed two supernova explosions in NGC 4666 in the past 10 years, one in 2014 and the other in 2019.
The US space agency added that the 2019 supernova was “19 times larger” than the sun.
NASA notes that the amount of “super wind” that comes from NGC 4666 is “extensive” and extends to tens of thousands of light-years, although it is not visible in the image.
And in 2010, the 2.2-meter MPG/ESO Telescope at La Silla Observatory in Chile saw a faint cluster of galaxies 3 billion light-years away from NGC 4666, thanks to its X-ray capabilities.
The Hubble telescope used its WFC3 camera to capture the image, which has been behind a large number of scientific discoveries.
The James Webb Telescope is set to replace Hubble, which has been in operation for more than 30 years. Since its launch in April 1990, Hubble has taken more than 1.5 million observations of the universe, and more than 18,000 scientific papers have been published based on its data.
Hubble orbits the Earth at an estimated speed of 17,000 miles per hour (27,300 kilometers per hour) in low Earth orbit at an altitude of about 340 miles, just above the International Space Station.
The telescope took its name from the famous astronomer Edwin Hubble, who was born in Missouri in 1889 and discovered that the universe is expanding, as well as the rate of its expansion.
James Webb, the most powerful telescope ever made, according to NASA, is scheduled to head into space from French Guiana on December 18, after a series of delays, relegating the Hubble telescope.
Source: Daily Mail