Hubble Space Telescope: NASA Releases 12 Spectacular New Images Of Galaxies, Nebulae And More

​Found in the constellation Leo, M95 is a beautiful barred spiral galaxy. It was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Méchain, a colleague of Charles Messier. NASA, ESA, STScI, and D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) and R. Chandar (University of Toledo)

NASA has just added a set of spectacular new images to its catalog of deep-sky objects named after the French astronomer Charles Messier (1730-1817).

Messier's main line of work was identifying new comets. However, he was limited by the small telescopes available to him, often coming across faint and blurry comet-like objects that did not move like comets and thus could not be classified as such.

Frustrated with these distractions, he began noting down the mysterious objects in a journal to help him distinguish them from the real comets he was searching for. In total, he cataloged 110 objects—all of which can only be seen from the Northern Hemisphere.

It is now known that these objects are, in fact, distant galaxies, nebulae and star clusters far beyond the Milky Way, including some of the most magnificent and beautiful sights in the northern sky—such as the Crab Nebula, the Pillars of Creation and the Whirlpool Galaxy.

After the Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990, astronomers began imaging the objects on Messier's list. To date, Hubble has imaged 93 of the 110 items on the list, when the 12 newly released pictures are taken into account.

Imaging some of the larger objects , such as the Andromeda Galaxy, in their entirety required Hubble to take thousands of exposures in order to capture them. But you don't need an advanced space observatory to see Messier's "non-comets." Many of the objects are bright enough to be seen through small telescopes, making them popular viewing targets for amateur astronomers.

The 12 new images can be seen below, while NASA's full Hubble Messier Catalog can be viewed here.

M58 was one of the first galaxies recognized to have a spiral shape and is one of the brightest galaxies in the constellation Virgo. Located roughly 62 million light-years from Earth, M58 is the most distant Messier object. NASA, ESA, STScI and D. Maoz (Tel Aviv University/Wise Observatory)
M59 is one of the largest elliptical galaxies in the Virgo galaxy cluster. However, it is still considerably less massive, and at a magnitude of 9.8, less luminous than other elliptical galaxies in the cluster. NASA, ESA, STScI, and W. Jaffe (Sterrewacht Leiden) and P. Côté (Dominion Astrophysical Observatory)
M62 is known for being one of the most irregularly shaped globular clusters in our galaxy. Globular clusters are large compact spherical star clusters, typically made up of old stars in the outer regions of a galaxy. NASA, ESA, STScI, and S. Anderson (University of Washington) and J. Chaname (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile)
M75 is the most centrally concentrated globular cluster in Messier’s catalog, with the majority of its stars located in a large nucleus. M75—which is believed to be around 13 billion years old and sits approximately 67,500 light-years away from Earth—is thought to contain about 400,000 stars. NASA, ESA, STScI, and G. Piotto (Università degli Studi di Padova) and E. Noyola (Max Planck Institut für extraterrestrische Physik)
Located in the constellation Virgo, M86 is either an elliptical galaxy or a lenticular galaxy (a cross between an elliptical and spiral galaxy). This Hubble observation of M86 was taken in near-infrared and visible light using the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 and the Advanced Camera for Surveys. NASA, ESA, STScI, and S. Faber (University of California, Santa Cruz) and P. Côté (Dominion Astrophysical Observatory)
This stunning image shows M88, a spiral galaxy with well-defined and symmetrical arms located approximately 47 million light-years away. At the galaxy’s core resides a supermassive black hole estimated to be 100 million times more massive than our Sun. M88 contains around 400 billion stars and is traveling away from our galaxy. NASA, ESA, STScI and M. Stiavelli (STScI)
M89 is an elliptical galaxy that is almost exactly circular. It is located about 50 million light-years away in the constellation Virgo. NASA, ESA, STScI, and M. Franx (Universiteit Leiden) and S. Faber (University of California, Santa Cruz)
M90 is a bright, beautiful spiral galaxy situated in the Virgo cluster of galaxies, approximately 59 million light-years away from Earth. M90 is believed to be breaking away from the rest of the galaxies in the Virgo cluster and is one of the few galaxies traveling toward our Milky Way galaxy, not away. NASA, ESA, STScI, and V. Rubin (Carnegie Institution of Washington), D. Maoz (Tel Aviv University/Wise Observatory) and D. Fisher (University of Maryland)
M98 is a galaxy located approximately 44 million light-years away which contains about a trillion stars as well as an abundance of neutral hydrogen gas and interstellar dust. Because of the high amounts of gas and dust, there are numerous star-forming regions in the galaxy, especially in its nucleus and arms. NASA, ESA, STScI and V. Rubin (Carnegie Institution of Washington)
​M108, or the Surfboard galaxy, is located in the constellation Ursa Major approximately 46 million light-years away. It is called the Surfboard galaxy because, when viewed with a telescope, it is seen nearly edge-on with no apparent bulge or pronounced core. NASA, ESA, STScI and G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz)
Located in the constellation Andromeda, M110 was discovered in 1773 by Charles Messier. It is a satellite galaxy of the Andromeda galaxy (M31) and a member of the Local Group, which is made up of the Milky Way and the galaxies located closest to it. NASA, ESA, STScI and D. Geisler (Universidad de Concepción)