Help Develop Our Galleries… YOU Decide!
We need your help to select new space images for our Exploring the Universe gallery.
We are in the process of developing the entrance to our Exploring the Universe gallery. We would love to use some of the stunning images from the Hubble Space Telescope and others, but want to know which image our visitors would like to see upon arrival.
We’ve picked out ten of our favourites, with an equal mixture of galaxy-scale and star-scale images. You can find out more about each image below, then follow the link to select your favourite – the most popular image will be featured in the gallery!
UPDATE – 20 June 2016
We have our winners! You chose overwhelmingly for two stunning images, one star-scale and one galaxy-scale.
On the left we have the ‘Mystic Mountain’ pillars of star formation, capped with newborn stars firing off jets into their surrounding clouds of gas and dust.
On the right, a ‘rose of galaxies’ formed by two interacting galaxies pulling their spiral arms apart.
These two images will be on display in the new entrance to our Exploring the Universe gallery later this year.
Thanks for helping us choose!
This enormous bubble is being blown by a super-hot, massive star located in the upper left corner of the bubble.
Strong stellar winds off the surface of this star ram into the surrounding gas and dust, forming the bubble wall.
Areas of denser gas and dust make it harder for the bubble to expand in those directions and so the star appears off-centre.
Westerlund 2 Star Cluster
This glittering field of stars and nebulous gas is a giant cluster of 3000 of the hottest, brightest, and most massive stars in our galaxy.
It’s a frenzy of new born stellar activity – powerful winds and radiation from the young stars sculpt the surrounding gas and dust into fantastical pillars and valleys.
The Pleiades – or Seven Sisters – are easily visible on a dark winter’s night in the Northern Hemisphere, but never so brilliantly as in this image from the Palomar 48-inch Schmidt telescope.
This cluster of young stars is only about 100 million years old and won’t last forever.
The stars of the Pleiades will eventually be pulled away from each other as stronger gravitational effects take hold.
Mystic Mountain Nebula
These pillars of gas and dust in the Carina Nebula are being carved by the very stars that form within.
Infant stars at the tops of the pillars fire off jets that can be seen blasting away surrounding gas and dust.
Older stars nearby have already shaped the twisting pillars by the pressure of their stellar winds and intense radiation.
This iconic Horsehead Nebula has been a favourite target for amateur and professional astronomers alike ever since its discovery in 1888 by Scottish astronomer Williamina Fleming.
This infrared Hubble image makes the Horsehead appear transparent and ethereal compared to traditional optical images.
Radio galaxies are some of the largest objects in the universe, recognizable by their enormous jets and lobes of radiating plasma, driven outwards at nearly the speed of light by supermassive black holes harboured in galaxy cores.
This radio galaxy is Hercules A. Radio light is shown in pink, highlighting its massive double jets.
Visible light shows the nearby galaxies, dwarfed in comparison to the size of the jets.
This active spiral galaxy is thought to contain a supermassive black hole in its core, currently feeding on large amounts of in-falling gas from the galaxy.
The striking image has been created using both ground-based telescopes and the Hubble Space Telescope, with wispy red spirals tracing glowing hydrogen gas.
This Hubble image reveals a classic quintet of galaxies that was first discovered in 1877.
With Hubble, individual stars come into view, displaying a wide assortment of young, blue and old, red stars.
Some of the youngest stars have been born as a result of galaxy distortions and mergers within this compact group. But the upper left spiral galaxy only looks like part of the group. In fact it’s a foreground galaxy seven times closer to Earth than the rest of the galaxies.
Rose of Galaxies
This rose-like pair of interacting galaxies is known as Arp 273.
It’s possible that the smaller galaxy below has passed through a part of the larger galaxy above, pulling some of the larger galaxy’s spiral arms into a rosette shape.
This cosmic interaction has triggered some intense new star formation as evident by the bright blue ‘jewels’ across the top.
Dark Matter in the Abell 520 Cluster
The violent collision between two massive galaxy clusters is traced by different colours in this combined image.
The individual galaxies are seen as white ellipses of light, surrounded by orange starlight (Hubble and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope).
In green is hot, X-ray emitting gas (Chandra X-ray telescope), which is tell-tale evidence that a collision has occurred. Dark matter, a mysterious substance that makes up most of the universe’s mass, is traced in blue.
Bizarrely, the dark matter is located in the centre, away from most of the galaxies. This contradicts current theories that predict that galaxies are always tied to dark matter.
(Note: you only get one vote so be sure to only click on the image you want to vote for)