Using Hubble and a new observing technique, astronomers have uncovered the smallest clumps of dark matter ever detected. Dark matter is an invisible
substance that makes up most of the universe's mass and forms the scaffolding upon which galaxies are built.
Observations with the 8-meter Gemini North telescope, a program of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, have allowed astronomers to pinpoint the location of a Fast Radio Burst in a nearby galaxy — making it the closest known example to Earth and only the second repeating burst source to have its location pinpointed in the sky. The source of this burst of radio waves is located in an environment radically different from that seen in previous studies. This discovery challenges researchers’ assumptions on the origin of these already enigmatic extragalactic events.
Hubble has photographed a majestic spiral galaxy, UGC 2885, located 232 million light-years away. The galaxy is 2.5 times wider than our Milky Way and contains 10 times as many stars. Astronomers want to know how it got so big.
Astronomers using Hubble have studied a unique class of young, migratory exoplanets that have the density of cotton candy. Nothing like them exists in our solar system. They orbit the star Kepler 51, located 2,600 light-years away. Hubble spectroscopic observations allowed researchers to refine mass estimates for these worlds—independently confirming their “puffy” nature.
A team of astronomers proposes a new method of using Webb to determine whether a rocky exoplanet has an atmosphere. The technique, which involves measuring the planet’s temperature as it passes behind its star and then comes back into view, is significantly faster than more traditional methods of atmospheric detection.
Hubble has taken the sharpest view to date of interstellar comet 2I/Borisov whose speed and trajectory indicate it has come from beyond our solar system. The image, taken October 12, 2019, reveals a central concentration of dust around the comet's nucleus.