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Hubble Space Telescope’s Galactic Views

22 Apr 2020, 15:05 UTC
Hubble Space Telescope’s Galactic Views
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Galaxies are fascinating places to explore. They have been around since nearly the beginning of the universe, are home to stars, planets, and other objects. When astronomers look at galaxies, with observatories such as Hubble Space Telescope, they might see star formation regions. They can also observe areas of star death. Many galaxies have black holes, particularly at their cores. And, of course, many stars in galaxies have planets or disks of material in which planets can form. In short, they present fascinating collections of telescope targets to study.

One famous galaxy has even changed our perception of the universe. Another one showed us how much a telescope could be improved. The first happened when astronomer Edwin P. Hubble began studying the Andromeda Galaxy in the 1920s. In 1924, as he observed it, he saw a variable star in one of its spiral arms and took images. Then, he calculated the distance to the galaxy using the period of the star’s brightening and dimming. It was a simple thing to do, but the results reverberated through the astronomy community like a shock wave. And, it forced astronomers to expand their understanding of the size of the universe.

Eventually, astronomy came ...

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