30 years later, Hubble is still making surprising discoveries

With 30 extra images, the Hubble collection now includes 87 of Caldwell’s 109 objects. One of the most dramatic images shown above is Caldwell 45, or NGC 5248, a spiral galaxy located in the Boötes constellation known for the ring structure around its core.

This particular image, along with others in the Caldwell catalog, is a composite created by several Hubble instruments including Wide Field Camera 3 and Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 in visible, infrared and ultraviolet light. “Capture the glowing red clouds where new stars are forming, scattered along the sinuous arms of the galaxy,” according to NASA. “These observations … were made to help astronomers learn more about the gas in the starburst regions of the galaxy, as well as to better understand the structure of its nuclear rings.”

While you may not have access to such sophisticated equipment, you can actually locate this cluster using a small telescope, “even if it won’t appear very bright,” NASA said. NASA includes a chart showing roughly where you can find it and the best time to locate it (summer) and other sites like Go to astronomy show more precise celestial coordinates. The beauty of star catalogs like Caldwell and Messier is that they help you locate these amazing objects on your own, sometimes with just binoculars or even with the naked eye.

NASA tasked Hubble with another five years of service in 2016, but that estimate is fluid. “There is no fixed date for the Hubble retreat. Hubble will continue to function as long as its components work and provide a good service to the scientific community, ”states the European Space Agency website. Considering the discoveries he is still making, it is hoped they will last another 30 years.

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