Exploring the Cosmos

From our solar system neighbors to the far outer reaches of the early cosmos, Hubble's three decades of scientific discoveries have unraveled the sublime elegance and complexity that is our universe.

Quick Facts

Clouds of gas cover the entire view, in a variety of bold colors. in the center the gas is brighter and very textured, resembling dense smoke. around the edges it is sparser and fainter. several small, bright blue stars are scattered over the nebula.
A portion of the open cluster NGC 6530 appears as a roiling wall of smoke studded with stars in this image from the NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. NGC 6530 is a collection of several thousand stars lying around 4,350 light-years from Earth in the constellation Sagittarius. The cluster is set within the larger Lagoon Nebula, a gigantic interstellar cloud of gas and dust. It is the nebula that gives this image its distinctly smoky appearance; clouds of interstellar gas and dust stretch from one side of this image to the other.
ESA/Hubble & NASA, ESO, and O. De Marco; Acknowledgement: M. H. Özsaraç

Uncovering Cosmic Mysteries

Five science themes guide Hubble's observations of the universe.

Hubble charts changes in the atmospheres of the outer planets in our solar system and inspects worlds around other stars. It studies the realms of star birth and death, galaxy evolution, and the very origins and evolution of our universe. There is no aspect of astronomy that Hubble’s discoveries haven’t touched.

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galaxies with lensing and scratch marks
Galaxy cluster Abell 370 contains several hundred galaxies tied together by the mutual pull of gravity. The thin, white trails that look like curved or S-shaped streaks are from asteroids that reside, on average, only about 160 million miles from Earth. The trails appear in multiple Hubble exposures that were combined into one image. Of the 22 total asteroid sightings for this field, five are unique objects that are so faint, they were unknown before this Hubble image.

Science Highlights

Explore observations that highlight the breadth of Hubble's three decades in space.

The stories you find here represent a small sample of Hubble’s thought-provoking discoveries and images. They serve to highlight some of Hubble’s greatest scientific achievements to date.

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Hubble view of an expanding halo of light around star v838 monocerotis
Hubble captured this view of an expanding halo of light around a distant star, named V838 Monocerotis (V838 Mon) with its Advanced Camera for Surveys on February 8, 2004. The illumination of interstellar dust comes from the red supergiant star at the middle of the image, which gave off a flashbulb-like pulse of light two years before this image was taken.
NASA, the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI) and ESA
Astronomers explain the history and high-level science behind some of Hubble's most beautiful, groundbreaking, and iconic images.

Science Behind the Discoveries

Ever wonder how Hubble makes its discoveries?

Explore the fundamental science behind Hubble’s observations. Learn what different wavelengths of light can tell us about astronomical objects and how that light becomes the celebrated images we love.

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Three pillars of gas and dust rise from the bottom of the image. They are rusty-brown and black with golden highlights. A bright, hazy background of varying shades of blue and turquoise helps silhouette the darker pillars. Bright stars dot the background.
Hubble revisited its iconic Pillars of Creation, revealing a sharper and wider view of the structures in this visible-light image. Astronomers combined several Hubble Wide Field Camera 3 exposures to assemble the wider view. The colors in the image highlight emission from several chemical elements. Oxygen emission is blue, sulfur is orange, and hydrogen and nitrogen are green.
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Hubble's Partners in Science

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has a long history of working with other observatories to explore our universe.

Hubble's unique capability to see in ultraviolet, visible, and near-infrared light along with its high resolution make it a highly sought after collaborator in our quest to better understand the cosmos.

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Illustration of various space-based and ground-based telescopes.
Hubble works with many different types of telescopes, both ground and space based, to explore the cosmos.

Universe Uncovered

Take a sightseeing trip through the cosmos with Hubble.

Tour Hubble galaxy, nebula, and star cluster images then delve into the vastness of space with Hubble’s Deep Fields.

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An undulating cloudscape of orange, yellow, green, red, pink, and purple gas clouds fill the bottom three-quarters of the image. A bright-white star sits withing the clouds just below image center. Above that star, the gas cloud thins out and a cluster of bright blue-white stars is visible through the mist. Top quarter of the image is black with scattered stars and a rusty-orange-band of clouds at upper right.
This view of the Orion Nebula is from a movie sequence that looks down the “valley” leading to the star cluster at the far end. The left side of the image shows the visible-light visualization, which fades to the infrared visualization on the right. These two contrasting models derive from observations by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes.
NASA, ESA, F. Summers, G. Bacon, Z. Levay, J. DePasquale, L. Frattare, M. Robberto and M. Gennaro (STScI), and R. Hurt (Caltech/IPAC)

Explore the Night Sky

Compare your views to those of Hubble.

Hubble observes many different types of objects across the night sky. With the aid of a pair of binoculars or telescope, some of those objects are also visible to backyard astronomers.

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Faint band of stars, gas, and dust stretches from left to right across the frame. This band is a representation of our galaxy as seen from space, edge-on. Colorful icons representing the types of objects Hubble has observed litter the frame: blue stars, orange spiral for galaxies, pink clouds for nebulae, yellow swirling top for exotic objects, and a green circle for exoplanets.
Hubble's Skymap puts the night sky at your fingertips any time of day. Roam the Milky Way to find a selection of galaxies, stars, nebulae, and more! Each icon represents a Hubble image.
Background Image: ESA, Gaia, DPAC; CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO; Acknowledgement: A. Moitinho
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