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Presentating the AURORA: a scientific tale of the Northern Lights

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Saturday, January 25th

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Hubble Space Telescope
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Discoveries | Highlights of Hubble’s Exploration of the Universe
Discoveries - Why a Space Telescope? | Highlights



Hubble Discoveries Highlights
Hubble image of "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle nebula, 1995
One of Hubble’s most iconic images is of this portion of the Eagle Nebula (M16). Dubbed the “Pillars of Creation,” it shows three huge columns of cold gas illuminated by light from a cluster of young stars with strong stellar winds located out of view above. Imbedded in the tips of the finger-like protrusions at the top of the columns are dense, gaseous globules within which stars are being born. The largest of the three columns is approximately four light-years tall.
Credits: NASA/ESA/STScI/Arizona State University
astronaut Mike Good on Hubble SM4 mission
With his feet firmly anchored on the shuttle’s robotic arm, astronaut Mike Good maneuvers to retrieve the tool caddy required to repair the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph during the final Hubble servicing mission in May 2009. Periodic upgrades have kept the telescope equipped with state-of-the-art instruments, which have given astronomers increasingly better views of the cosmos.
Credits: NASA
In 1609, visionary Italian scientist Galileo Galilei turned the newly invented optical device of his day — the telescope — to view the heavens. His observations conclusively showed that there were celestial bodies (the moons of Jupiter) that did not revolve around the Earth, launching a revolution that forever changed our view of an Earth-centered universe.

Almost four centuries later, the launch of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1990 started another revolution in astronomy. Developed as a partnership between the United States space program and the European Space Agency, Hubble orbits 340 miles above Earth’s surface. Its gaze outward lies beyond the distorting effects of the atmosphere, which blurs starlight and blocks some important wavelengths of light from reaching the ground. This vantage point allows Hubble to observe astronomical objects and phenomena more consistently and with better detail than generally attainable from ground-based observatories. The telescope's sensitive cameras and spectrographs can view objects as nearby and small as colliding asteroids to distant star-forming galaxies that date back to when the universe was only three percent of its current age. In fact, Hubble observations have played a key role in discovering and characterizing the mysterious dark energy that now appears to permeate space. Results like these have changed our fundamental understanding of the cosmos.

Well into its third operational decade, Hubble is still extremely productive. The orbiting telescope has taken over a million observations and provided data that astronomers have used to write more than 16,000 peer-reviewed scientific publications on a broad range of topics, from planet formation to gigantic black holes. These papers have been referenced in other publications over 800,000 times, and this total increases, on average, by more than 150 per day. Every current astronomy textbook includes contributions from the observatory. Today’s college undergraduates have not known a time in their lives when astronomers were not actively making discoveries with Hubble data.

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Yukon Beringia Interpretive Centre
Kilometre 1423 Alaska Highway
Whitehorse

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