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Hubble Spies Celestial Cloudscape That's Pretty as a Painting

Hubble, you make my heart sing.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
2 min read
Swirling nebula cloudscape with washed out colors in shades of blue, red and orange.
Enlarge Image
Swirling nebula cloudscape with washed out colors in shades of blue, red and orange.

Hubble peered at the Orion Nebula and saw this gorgeous wash of gas and dust around Herbig-Haro object HH 505.

ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Bally; CC BY 4.0 Acknowledgement: M. H. Özsaraç

I'm wowed by the early results from the James Webb Space Telescope, but my Hubble Space Telescope fandom hasn't waned one bit. Case in point: Hubble delivered a view of the area around Herbig-Haro object HH 505 in the Orion Nebula. It's an image awash in color and curves, like an intense, abstract watercolor painting. The European Space Agency described it as a "celestial cloudscape."

Swirling nebula cloudscape with washed out colors in shades of blue, red and orange.
Enlarge Image
Swirling nebula cloudscape with washed out colors in shades of blue, red and orange.

Here's the full image. Hubble peered at the Orion Nebula and saw this gorgeous wash of gas and dust around Herbig-Haro object HH 505.

ESA/Hubble & NASA, J. Bally; CC BY 4.0 Acknowledgement: M. H. Özsaraç

ESA said in a statement Friday, "Herbig-Haro objects are luminous regions surrounding newborn stars, and are formed when stellar winds or jets of gas spewing from these newborn stars form shockwaves colliding with nearby gas and dust at high speeds."  

HH 505 gets its look thanks to a star called IX Ori that hangs out at the far reaches of the Orion Nebula about 1,000 light-years from us. The star's outflows appear as curving structures at the top and bottom of the full image. 

Hubble's views of the Orion Nebula -- an active stellar nursery -- highlight the work of young stars and how they impact their space neighborhoods. The telescope is a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency.

Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference

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If you like this picture of HH 505, then be sure to check out NASA's visualization video from 2018 that flies you into the nebula using a combination of Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescope observations. 

Though Webb is the shiny new thing, it's not meant as a replacement for Hubble, which has remarkably been in service for over 30 years. The two telescopes have different specialties and will both contribute to a growing understanding of the universe.