Before Galileo turned his telescope to the skies in 1610, all that we knew of the universe we knew because we could see it with our naked eyes. Little did we know what wonders they hid from us. Galileo’s work sparked a revolution in science and astronomy, and while he may have made vast improvements on the telescope of his day, NASA’s 24,000 lb. space telescope has collected over 100 terabytes of data since its launch in 1990. A large number of these images have been curated to the Hubble’s Flickr stream. They give us an exciting glimpse into what those of Galileo’s time were missing, and what we, too, could miss if we don’t pay attention.
And if these images leave you yearning for some video footage, fear not: we’ve got you covered with the most important image Hubble has ever captured.
Huge clouds of matter – known today as the Homunculus Nebula – consist of byproducts from the binary star system Eta Carinae, which experienced a supernova impostor event in 1843. This is the closest star system to Earth which could experience true supernova status in the near future. (The near future in space-time could still mean a million years from now.)