A National Air and Space Museum astronomer picks some of his favorite images from the storied telescope.
- By Rebecca Maksel
- AirSpaceMag.com, May 22, 2009
NASA and Jeff Hester (Arizona State University)
Trifid Nebula, Hubble View (1999)
“This is a star-forming region, and the star is forming within a huge cloud of gas and dust,” says DeVorkin. “If you look at the right side [of the photograph] you’ll see that at the very center of this is an overexposed image of a star—a very hot star. The star is radiating and heating the gas and dust around it, and pushing it away. And then the two ‘antennae’ are extra dense areas that are actually shadowing the gas behind it, and preventing it from evaporating even though everything else around it is evaporating. And so we guess there must be solar systems, or a solar system, in the center of that tiny little lobe at the top of that ‘antenna’ in the process of formation. Eventually the heat and light and pressure from the bright star will blow all that gas and dust away, and whatever is left will form that solar system.”