Outer space is enormous and full of darkness. However, there may be beauty to be discovered all throughout, as Hubble continuously reminds us.
Take this newly shared picture of NGC 972, a galaxy discovered by German-British astronomer Herschel in 1784. It’s not our closest neighbor, at around 70 million light-years away; however it sure takes a good picture.
The Hubble Space Telescope snapped the image, and as you no doubt read already in the above tweet, these orange-pink flourishes peppered throughout the picture are the product of hydrogen gasoline, a critical constructing block for star formation, reacting to the light emitted by new child stars. The dark patches of black mixed in among the brighter bits are cosmic mud.
NASA uploads photos like this one all the time, and so they never get previous. Hubble is a constant supply of the stellar imagery, but keep in mind: it launched in 1990 and is sort of 30 years old now. It has been serviced and upgraded over time, but it’s nonetheless an older piece of technology.
Whereas Hubble is expected to stay around and continue beaming imagery again to Earth for another 10-20 years, its successor — the James Webb Space Telescope — is scheduled to launch in early 2021, and bring improvements to Hubble’s core mission of peering into deep space.