Hubble lifts lid on jewel box

Astronomers have worked their image-reprocessing magic to produce another spectacular picture from the Hubble space telescope. It lifts the lid on a celestial jewel box and shows, once again, what a great ambassador Hubble is for science.

Hubble photo of NGC 3603Thousands of new-born stars sparkle like diamonds in the view of one of the biggest clusters in our home galaxy.

The stellar nursery lies at the heart of a nebula – a vast cloud of gas and dust called NGC 3603 which lies 20,000 light-years away in a spiral arm of the Milky Way in the constellation of Carina.

The cloud, discovered by British scientist Sir John Herschel in 1834, is so big that light, travelling at 300,000 km a second (186,300 miles), takes around 17 years just to cross from one side to the other.

Hubble took the picture using its Advanced Camera for Surveys, which stopped working earlier this year. Nasa astronauts are set to repair Hubble in a daring shuttle mission next year which will be filmed for the biggest of big screens using an Imax camera.

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Paul Sutherland

Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.
Paul Sutherland

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Paul Sutherland

I have been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. I write regularly for science magazines including BBC Sky at Night magazine, BBC Focus, Astronomy Now and Popular Astronomy. I have also authored three books on astronomy and contributed to others.

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