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Ho-Ho-Hubble for the Holidays: See the Most Stunning Stuff Here

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment

hubble snow angel image


It’s that time of the year: time for releases of holiday-themed Hubble images. Sparkly lights, ornaments, wreaths, and — today — a stunning snow angel. You may have already seen it, and if you haven’t — you will.

But this is just the latest in a series of releases. Without further delay, here is a menu of magnificence from the Hubble imaging artists. And don’t forget to browse the offering of FREE holiday cards from Hubblesite.


hubble ornament image

A delicate sphere of gas, photographed by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, floats serenely in the depths of space. The pristine shell, or bubble, is the result of gas that is being shocked by the expanding blast wave from a supernova. Called SNR 0509-67.5 (or SNR 0509 for short), the bubble is the visible remnant of a powerful stellar explosion in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a small galaxy about 160,000 light-years from Earth. Ripples in the shell’s surface may be caused by either subtle variations in the density of the ambient interstellar gas, or possibly driven from the interior by pieces of the ejecta. The bubble-shaped shroud of gas is 23 light-years across and is expanding at more than 11 million miles per hour (5,000 kilometers per second).



hubble wreath image

In the new Hubble image of the galaxy M74 we can also see a smattering of bright pink regions decorating the spiral arms. These are huge, relatively short-lived, clouds of hydrogen gas which glow due to the strong radiation from hot, young stars embedded within them; glowing pink regions of ionized hydrogen (hydrogen that has lost its electrons). These regions of star formation show an excess of light at ultraviolet wavelengths and astronomers call them HII regions.



The Big Picture Blog recently relocated from the Boston Globe to the Atlantic magazine. But it still releases a Hubble “advent calendar.” Brace yourself for some of the most stunning astronomical images you will see this year. Click the sparkly image below to go to the 2011 Big Picture Blog Advent Calendar.


hubble sparkly lights image
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OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.

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Check out the Viz — a new way to explore the planet and beyond

photo of ipad with nasa viz app displayed

In the past year or so, I was involved in a project here at Goddard to create a new iPad app and it’s finally out. It’s called the NASA Visualization Explorer.

I know, I know — what do they mean by “visualization”? Pardon the jargon. It’s the local industry around here.

“Visualization” is sorta what it sounds like. It’s the process of making something visual. In this case, the thing being visualized is data from NASA’s fleet of scientific satellites.

The crack team of scientist-artists at NASA Goddard’s Scientific Visualization Studio crank this stuff out, and some of it is truly amazing work. But it doesn’t necessarily reach the public. The new iPad app will help to spread the good news: “We got viz!”

If you have an iPad, check this thing out and let us know what you think.


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OH AND DID I MENTION? All opinions and opinionlike objects in this blog are mine alone and NOT those of NASA or Goddard Space Flight Center. And while we’re at it, links to websites posted on this blog do not imply endorsement of those websites by NASA.

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