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Hubble’s Hidden Treasures


The magnificent Crab Nebula as viewed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit/Hubble Top 100

Ever find yourself outside on a clear night, looking out at the cosmos wondering what it would be like to fly really close to the stars?

Maybe,  someday.

But a contest involving the Hubble Space Telescope, a 22-year-old collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, offers the next best thing.

Hubble operators at the Space Telescope Science Research Institute are seeking the public’s assistance in combing through their vast data base to find knock your socks off celestial images. More than a million images have been taken, many of them yet to be examined.

The Sombrero galaxy as imaged by the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit/Hubble Top 100

The Hubble Hidden Treasures competition, which ends May 31, offers  Apple  ipads and other prizes.

The contest follows two tracks.

The first is Hubble Hidden Treasures 2012, which provides budding amateur astronomers with access to the imagery data base and easy to use software tools to find and dress up an attractive image of your choice.

The second, Hubble Hidden Treasures 2012, follows the same process but with professional imaging software.

Spacewalking space shuttle astronauts upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit/NASA

Named for the 20th Century astronomer Edwin Hubble, the space telescope was launched aboard the shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden served as the mission pilot.

Shuttle crews returned to the orbiting observatory five times, most recently in May 2009, to make upgrades and repairs. Hubble imagery has helped to estimate the age of the universe, characterize black holes and solar explosions as well as investigate the planet forming processes around other stars.

Here is a link to the contest site with more details.

And here is a link to the vast Hubble imagery archive.

Happy hunting!



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