SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA – More than 50 images never seen before and captured by the Hubble telescope were revealed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, this Friday, the day that marks the 30th anniversary of the Hubble space telescope.
The gift NASA shared with the world includes shots of more than 30 dazzling galaxies, bright star clusters, and ethereal nebulae. These impressive pictures of celestial objects were published on the website of the aeronautical institution and belong to a collection known to amateur astronomers as the ‘Caldwell catalog’.
Some of the prints included in the catalog are available to everyone, with the help of a homemade telescope. Many of them can also be detected with binoculars or even with the naked eye. These images have been taken by Hubble throughout his career and used for scientific research or engineering testing, but NASA had not fully processed the images for public display until now.
The ‘Caldwell catalog’ has been compiled by British amateur astronomer and science communicator Patrick Caldwell-Moore and was published by Sky & Telescope magazine 25 years ago, in December 1995.
According to a statement published by NASA, the memory was inspired by the ‘Messier catalog ‘ , prepared by the French comet hunter Charles Messier.
The ‘Caldwell catalog’ highlights 109 galaxies, star clusters and nebulae that are not included in the ‘Messier catalog’ but are also bright enough to be seen by amateur astronomers. The new images join Hubble’s existing gallery of Caldwell objects, first published in December 2019. The Hubble collection now includes 87 of the 109 Caldwell objects.
For each listing in Hubble’s Caldwell catalog, a basic star chart shows observers when and where they can find that object in the night sky, and a description suggests what kind of observing equipment can be used to see it.
The individual articles also explain the Hubble images for those who prefer to simply enjoy the exquisite views of the telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in April 1990.
After being updated five times by crews of astronauts who are forced into spacewalks, Hubble is today, at 30 years old, even better than when it was launched and continues to make groundbreaking discoveries that challenge and advance our fundamental understanding of the cosmos.