COOL IMAGES: Mining Hubble's Gems

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Science  13 Nov 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5392, pp. 1223
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5392.1223d

What may look like a hole in the sky on a stormy night is actually the NGC 3132 nebula, a colossal belch of gases from an aging star in the Vela constellation 2000 light-years away (the source star is just next to the bright star). The photo comes from the Hubble Heritage Project, a new Web site at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. Astronomers there plan to cull the 130,000 images taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope since 1990 for stunning shots of planets, galaxies, and stars, then remove distortions and otherwise dress them up to produce one high-quality picture a month. Many beautiful Hubble shots weren't big enough news to make press releases, but “we don't have that same requirement,” says team leader Keith Noll. The site has logged over half a million visitors since it debuted on 21 October.

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