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Hubble Survey Unlocks Clues to Star Birth in Neighboring Galaxy

All stars are not created equal. They can vary in mass by over a factor of 1,000. Our sun is classified as a diminutive yellow dwarf. What's more, stars are not born in isolation, but inside giant molecular clouds of hydrogen. The question has been: what fraction of stars precipitate out of these clouds into clusters that contain blue giants, yellow dwarfs, and red dwarfs? It's like asking if all automobile manufacturers fabricate the same proportion of trucks, SUVs, sedans, and subcompacts. The best way to address the question is not to look around our Milky Way which we are inside but far out into space to the neighboring Andromeda galaxy, 2.5 million light-years away. Embedded in a sweeping Hubble Space Telescope mosaic of 117 million stars in the galaxy's disk are 2,753 star clusters. Hubble astronomers found that, for whatever reason, nature apparently cooks up stars like batches of cookies. There is a consistent distribution from massive stars to small stars. It is surprising to find that this ratio is the same across our neighboring galaxy (as well as inside our stellar neighborhood in the Milky Way), given the complex physics of star formation.

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Mid-Cycle Proposals

NASA and Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) are pleased to announce a new opportunity to apply for observations with the Hubble Space Telescope. Mid-cycle proposals aim to allow the community to follow up on discoveries made since the Cycle 23 proposal deadline. Participation in this program is open to all categories of organizations, both domestic and foreign, including educational institutions, profit and nonprofit organizations, NASA Centers, and other Government agencies. Proposals are limited to no more than 5 orbits. Full details are given at this link.

HST Frontier Fields

Using Director's Discretionary (DD) observing time, HST is undertaking a revolutionary deep field observing program to peer deeper into the Universe than ever before and provide a first glimpse of JWST's universe. These Frontier Fields will combine the power of HST with the natural gravitational telescopes of high-magnification clusters of galaxies. Using both the Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys in parallel, HST will produce the deepest observations of clusters and their lensed galaxies ever obtained, and the second-deepest observations of blank fields (located near the clusters). These images will reveal distant galaxy populations ~10 - 100 times fainter than any previously observed, improve our statistical understanding of galaxies during the epoch of reionization, and provide unprecedented measurements of the dark matter within massive clusters.

Data releases of the already observed clusters are available at the MAST Frontier Fields website.

The Frontier Fields public lensing models have been released and are available on the MAST Frontier Fields Lensing Model website. This website includes interactive tools for examining the lensing maps and obtaining magnifications and uncertainties from a variety of models, given a position and redshift.

For more information about the survey, please see the Frontier Fields website.

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The ETCs are web-based applications that assist Hubble users in preparing Phase I and Phase II observing proposals. The ETCs calculate exposure times or SNRs for simulated astronomical observations using any of HST's primary instruments:

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