NASA today released the first images taken by the Hubble space telescope since a repair mission repaired its lens a few months ago.
A nebula around a dying star, a clash among members of a galactic grouping, the crowded core of Omega Centauri, and the birth of a star in the Carina Nebula are the -- pardon the pun -- stars of the release. Click on the image for a better view.
The blog at Discover Magazine does a good job of dissecting what each of these photos is. And when's the last time you used quintillion in a sentence?
Of course, the space telescope actually looks back in time. The telescope's current mission is to look back in time to when the universe was less than 500 million years old. If it works, we'll be able, perhaps, to figure out what to do with a new photograph that shows 13 billion years ago.
It's difficult to think of such things and not get all philosophical on the possible. For example, if we can figure out how to look back in time 13 billion years, what can't we do?
Without the Shuttle, we would have been unable to repair the Hubble. Since NASA is retiring the Shuttle in a few years, what does it mean that we lose this sort of capability in space?