The Hubble space telescope, now active for nearly 20 years, continues to send back images that amaze and astound scientists. And it’s not only the newest pictures being sent that are providing all of the “ooh” moments these days.
Scientists studying land-based telescope views discovered a gassy planet orbiting a nearby star (HR 8799), and then went back to images from Hubble that are at least ten years old to see if they could get a closer look. By using computer technology to “clean” the image, they were able to get a closer look at the gassy planet, which may not be as gassy as once thought. It might actually be water and land-filled, refueling the speculation that other planets can hold life as well. As in, “we are not alone.”
I’ve always been fascinated by Hubble’s images, and when images can be used to further develop scientific theories and expand on unkowns in our astronomical world, that is all that much better. It still bothers me to think that Hubble will be retired some day, as it is providing so much right now for scientists studying “other worlds.”