Image by Keith Weller
Image by Keith Weller

Sometimes I forget all about the Hubble Space Telescope, which is a shame. Because the Hubble is amazing. And it practically lives in our back yard.

The Space Telescope Science Institute is, of course, located on the Homewood Campus of Johns Hopkins, so even though several dozen universities are involve in operating the Hubble, I feel like it’s a little more ours than theirs, you know?

But terms like “ours” and “theirs” and “Johns Hopkins Homewood Campus” start to seem a little meaningless when you look at an image like the one above. It’s the newest result captured by the Hubble, a spiral galaxy 15 million light-years away from us in the Hydra constellation.

Here’s Hopkins astronomer William Blair explaining how the image was made:

As with most Hubble images released to the public, this ‘image’ was actually made using some 90 individual exposures through five color filters. Hot, young stars glow bluish-white, while older and cooler stars look orange or red. The center of the galaxy glows brightly from a tremendous burst of new stars forming. Glowing clouds of red hydrogen gas surround the regions of most active star formation in the spiral arms, while delicate tendrils of brown interstellar dust swirl through vast regions of interstellar space, all revealed by the exquisite eye of Hubble.