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Photo: Hubble Snaps Stunning View of Iconic Nebula

The Hubble space telescope's infrared camera provides a new look to the famous Horsehead nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
The Hubble space telescope’s infrared camera provides a new look to the famous Horsehead nebula. Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

In honor of its launch 23 years ago the Hubble Space Telescope snapped a breathtaking, never-before-seen view of one of the most photogenic cosmic vistas in the night sky.

Dubbed the Horsehead nebula because of its obvious resemblance to a steed or chess piece in profile,  this dark cloud of gas and dust sits 1,500 light years from Earth in the winter constellation Orion and has been a favorite target for generations of backyard stargazers.

Now thanks to the Hubble’s  infrared vision of its high-resolution Wide Field Camera,  we finally get to lift the veil of gas and dust covering a nursery of newborn stars buried within the nebula.

In this new portrait, the nebula’s  normally shadowy facade seen in optical light,  now appears in infrared light to be transparent, and lit up against a backdrop of more distant bright nebulae and star clusters scattered in our Milky Way galaxy.

The wispy outline along the outer ridge of this distinctively shaped pillar of hydrogen gas and dust glows due to a nearby, hot, young five star system lying just off the frame.

Astronomers believe that the radiation from these same stars that showcase the Horsehead today will eventually kill it off- evaporating it over time. But no need to worry since astronomers estimate that will be about 5 million years before it completely disappears from our skies.

Comments

  1. RANGAN CHATTERJEE
    Kolkata, India
    November 14, 2013, 6:57 am

    WOW ! IT’S AMAZING, AWESOME, MAGNIFICENT…

  2. Md Jamil Asghar
    BHAGALPUR(INDIA)
    October 14, 2013, 1:16 am

    It’s how nice and beautiful creation of Almighty Allah, thanks a lot to HUBBLE and NASA who made a deeply look into the nature.We expect a lot of discovery by the next generation of Hubble in very near future.

  3. rahul rawat
    faridabad
    October 11, 2013, 9:25 pm

    grate

  4. Mohd. Iqbal Abdul Sattar
    India
    October 7, 2013, 4:56 am

    Breathtakingly awsome

  5. Pralay Prasanna Dalal Chowdhury
    India
    August 26, 2013, 8:17 am

    The great womb of ours

  6. K. S. Parihar
    India
    June 24, 2013, 3:26 pm

    its really very nice. we can’t imagine this kind of pic….

  7. siddhant
    punjab,India
    June 21, 2013, 10:46 am

    Its amazing AWESOME

  8. Mark l
    Hutchinson
    June 19, 2013, 9:13 pm

    Look below the wave cloud on top to middle of pic it looks like face of Jesus , just saying ..

  9. Rekha
    Ambattur
    May 6, 2013, 6:40 am

    so beautiful

  10. Debasish Mallick
    Bangalore, India
    May 3, 2013, 5:58 am

    Redefining BEAUTY ….

  11. lisa bussey
    United States
    April 24, 2013, 12:30 am

    a deep look into space and stars we are so lucky that we can see these things now what will it be like in the next ten years and will we be looking at

  12. lisa bussey
    United States
    April 24, 2013, 12:26 am

    a deep look into space and stars we are so lucky that we can see these things now what will it be like in the next ten years

  13. Jacki
    Austin, Texas
    April 23, 2013, 5:33 pm

    The definition of awesome!

  14. Yener
    Turkey
    April 23, 2013, 5:28 pm

    Nice image…

  15. Adrianna
    Arizona
    April 23, 2013, 3:47 pm

    Love it so awesome. Beautiful.

  16. Christian Duerig
    April 23, 2013, 3:21 pm

    How much more do we know today thanks to Hubble. I want to know more because of Hubble. What will be after Hubble ? I start to think. Whenn wil I see ?
    Many thanks to NASA

  17. smeagol
    canada
    April 23, 2013, 12:53 pm

    OMG amazing

  18. left
    shandong china
    April 23, 2013, 9:59 am

    I wanna go there sometimes.

  19. cam matteoni
    pensylvania
    April 23, 2013, 7:31 am

    i love national geographic, this gave me a boner

  20. Pete
    April 20, 2013, 10:35 pm

    Cosmic warming.

  21. http://stanito.com
    April 20, 2013, 8:30 pm

    So beautiful…