As scientists are working hard to bring humanity’s beloved window to the cosmos — Hubble Space Telescope — back online, NASA is sharing classic pictures once taken by the space telescope on Instagram. Stars, star-forming dust and star systems spiralling around the eye of a galaxy feature in the two photos that NASA shared on Wednesday. Awe-inspired netizens found the images beautiful and wished that the space telescope would come back online.
In the two pictures shared by NASA on Instagram, a swirl of reddish star matter can be seen spiralling around the bright galactic centre. The first picture beautifully captures the “graceful spiral arms and pink star-forming regions,” the caption states. The galaxy in the pictures is the Whirlpool Galaxy, a galaxy about 23 million light-years far from the earth, with a diameter of 60,000 light-years. However, this galaxy is much younger and smaller than our giant Milky Way galaxy. The second image is of the same galaxy, however, it is an infrared perspective of the cosmic spiral, highlighting only its skeletal dust structures. These two pictures together “show off very different aspects of the galaxy,” wrote NASA in the caption.
Pointing out that infrared lighting is displaying the black hole at the galactic centre in an entirely different light, a user wrote, “Wow, infrared lighting is insane! Look at that tiny little speck of a black hole in the centre!” While emojis of fire and hearts rained in the comments, another user added to the compliments, “Magnificient!”
Some netizens also wanted an update on the recent technical problems at Hubble, while some others wished the telescope good health hoping it soon comes back online.
On June 13, Hubble Space Telescope’s payload computer went offline. The computer is crucial for the scientific equipment to work as per the instructions and coordinate well. NASA scientists are working hard to fix that. In the latest update on July 6, NASA informed that it has begun a test of procedures to turn on the backup hardware on the space telescope that is floating 547 kilometres above the earth’s surface.