Washington, September 10 (ANI): NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which has been declared fully rejuvenated, has captured colorful, multi-wavelength pictures of far-flung galaxies, a densely packed star cluster, an eerie "pillar of creation," and a "butterfly" nebula.
Hubble's suite of new instruments allows it to study the universe across a wide swath of the light spectrum, from ultraviolet all the way to near-infrared.
In addition, scientists released spectroscopic observations that slice across billions of light-years to probe the cosmic-web structure of the universe and map the distribution of elements that are fundamental to life as we know it.
"This marks a new beginning for Hubble," said Ed Weiler, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The telescope was given an extreme makeover and now is significantly more powerful than ever, well-equipped to last into the next decade," he added.
The new instruments are more sensitive to light and, therefore, will improve Hubble's observing efficiency significantly.
It is able to complete observations in a fraction of the time that was needed with prior generations of Hubble instruments.
The space observatory today is significantly more powerful than it ever has been.
"The targets we've selected to showcase the telescope reveal the great range of capabilities in our newly upgraded Hubble," said Keith Noll, leader of a team at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, which planned the early release observations.
These results are compelling evidence of the success of the STS-125 servicing mission in May, which has brought the space observatory to the apex of its scientific performance.
Two new instruments, the Wide Field Camera 3 and Cosmic Origins Spectrograph, were installed, and two others, the Advanced Camera for Surveys and Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph, were repaired at the circuit board level.
Hubble now enters a phase of full science observations.
Observations will range from studying the population of Kuiper Belt objects at the fringe of our solar system to surveying the birth of planets around other stars and probing the composition and structure of extrasolar planet atmospheres.
There are ambitious plans to take the deepest-ever near-infrared portrait of the universe to reveal never-before-seen infant galaxies that existed when the universe was less than 500 million years old.
Other planned observations will attempt to shed light on the behavior of dark energy, a repulsive force that is pushing the universe apart at an ever-faster rate. (ANI)