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  • When the Hubble Space Telescope launched aboard the Space Shuttle 
Discovery on April 24, 1990, astronomers could only dream what they 
might see. Now, 27 years and more than a million observations later, the 
telescope delivers yet another magnificent view of the universe - this 
time, a striking pair of spiral galaxies much like our own Milky Way. 
These island cities of stars, which are approximately 55 million light-
years away, give astronomers an idea of what our own galaxy would look 
like to an outside observer. The edge-on galaxy (at left) is called NGC 4302, and the tilted galaxy (at right) is NGC 4298. Although the pinwheel galaxies look quite 
different because they are angled at different positions on the sky, they 
are actually very similar in terms of their structure and contents.
    NASA, ESA, and M. Mutchler (STScI)
    When the Hubble Space Telescope launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990, astronomers could only dream what they might see. Now, 27 years and more than a million observations later, the telescope delivers yet another magnificent view of the universe - this time, a striking pair of spiral galaxies much like our own Milky Way. These island cities of stars, which are approximately 55 million light- years away, give astronomers an idea of what our own galaxy would look like to an outside observer. The edge-on galaxy (at left) is called NGC 4302, and the tilted galaxy (at right) is NGC 4298. Although the pinwheel galaxies look quite different because they are angled at different positions on the sky, they are actually very similar in terms of their structure and contents.
  • This is an infrared image of the galaxy pair NGC 4302 and NGC 4298 taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. The infrared light pierces through the dust lanes and shows significantly more stars than seen in visible light. In the infrared, the 
edge-on NGC 4302 is brighter than in the visible view. The tilted galaxy NGC 
4298's spiral arms aren't as obvious in infrared, because the infrared light glows through the dust that marks the arms in visible light. This image represents the 
sort of view the James Webb Space Telescope will have when it is launched in late 2018. Webb's infrared vision will slice through dust to see the stars 
embedded in it.
    NASA, ESA, and M. Mutchler (STScI)
    This is an infrared image of the galaxy pair NGC 4302 and NGC 4298 taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. The infrared light pierces through the dust lanes and shows significantly more stars than seen in visible light. In the infrared, the edge-on NGC 4302 is brighter than in the visible view. The tilted galaxy NGC 4298's spiral arms aren't as obvious in infrared, because the infrared light glows through the dust that marks the arms in visible light. This image represents the sort of view the James Webb Space Telescope will have when it is launched in late 2018. Webb's infrared vision will slice through dust to see the stars embedded in it.
  • This is a Hubble Space Telescope view of a small, random location on the sky, awash largely with spiral galaxies like our Milky Way. This sea of galaxies 
stretches across billions of light-years. Most of the prominent galaxies look different only because they are tilted at various orientations to Earth, from edge-on to face-on. A few others are involved in mergers. The objects with diffraction 
spikes are foreground stars in our own galaxy. The image was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) at the same time a much closer pair of spiral galaxies, NGC 4302 and NGC 4298, was being simultaneously 
photographed by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). These so-called
    NASA, ESA, and M. Mutchler (STScI)
    This is a Hubble Space Telescope view of a small, random location on the sky, awash largely with spiral galaxies like our Milky Way. This sea of galaxies stretches across billions of light-years. Most of the prominent galaxies look different only because they are tilted at various orientations to Earth, from edge-on to face-on. A few others are involved in mergers. The objects with diffraction spikes are foreground stars in our own galaxy. The image was taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) at the same time a much closer pair of spiral galaxies, NGC 4302 and NGC 4298, was being simultaneously photographed by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). These so-called "parallel field" observations increase the efficiency of how the telescope is used when making observations.




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