Re: Hubble Telescope: 25 Years Of Stunning Images
Wow, there are some great images in here, Nathan! I'm in the camp who's continuously fascinated by the availability of these images and this research, and while I can't get enough, more than a few lines of explanation still tends to go over my head, well-versed as I'd like to consider myself. Check this out (from the full gallery on hubble's site) : "In this celestial case, it is especially dense clouds of molecular hydrogen gas (two atoms of hydrogen in each molecule) and dust that have survived longer than their surroundings in the face of a flood of ultraviolet light from hot, massive newborn stars (off the top edge of the picture). This process is called "photoevaporation"". What an explanation. Apparently this process helps to incubate stars. I can sort of grasp it, but not fully; it does my heart good to know there's someone out there who does.
In a way, a lot of this really drives home how brief a time 25 years is for the universe. These images have moved mankind's understanding of our universe forward by leaps and bounds, but it's not like the universe made any special effort to show us all this; it was always sitting there, waiting to be discovered. It at least gives us a measuring stick to see how much (or how little) some things change over time, like those storms on Saturn. Future generations will look back on this as humanity's very first stretch of time seriously exploring space, and we are fortunate to have lived through it. And you're right; Dave's article on space travel the other week was the first I'd ever heard of the Hubble's famous early blunders. It's a good thing that the beauty of these images has already eclipsed that. As time goes on, that will become more and more the case, until the problems aren't even a footnote.