In April 1990, our universe opened up to us in a whole new way.
It was the most powerful space telescope when the Hubble Space Telescope was launched and deployed.
Although the device got off to a serious start, Hubble has been in operation for a full three decades until April of this year. And, in celebration of this great milestone, NASA has just handed over our space treasure: 50 new processed images from the Caldwell catalog have been released to the public for the first time.
Cosmic objects can be classified in different ways. What makes the Coldwell catalog special is that it contains only things that home yard astronomers can observe. Grab a telescope (or in some cases your own two eyes) and you can find these things for yourself in the night sky.
The Caldwell Catalog, compiled by Sir Patrick Alfred Caldwell-Moore, an amateur astronomer and author, was first published in 1995. Sky and Telescope, Intended as a complement to the Messiah catalog of 110 objects compiled by the French astronomer Charles Messier in the 18th century.
Messiah famously compiled his catalog out of frustration. He was interested in discovering comets; The catalog was a list of annoying things Was not Comets, and therefore comet hunters can safely ignore.
Ironically, it turned out to be a really useful list of bright targets for amateur astronomers to see, including nebulae, star clusters, and nearby galaxies.
The 109-object Caldwell catalog contains 28 nebulae, 46 clusters, and 35 galaxies that were not included in Messier’s catalog, but there is a keen interest for anyone looking at the night sky and enjoying it.
It can be a joy to find these things yourself and to see them with your own eyes light-years away. There is also joy in comparing Hubble’s own observations with what he saw with his much stronger “eyes.” And, well, they’re just glorious.
Thirty Caldwell objects are featured in 50 new NASA images, some objects appearing in multiple images.
“Because of Hubble’s detailed field of view, some of its images do not contain the full picture of a Caldwell object, sometimes instead zooming into clusters of young stars in the arms of a spiral galaxy, stars on the outskirts of a cluster or” zombie star in the heart of a nebula, “Nassar said on the NASA website. Wrote Vanessa Thomas of Flight Center.
“In other cases, however, a mosaic of Hubble observations is combined to form a complete or almost complete portrait of the celestial wonder.”
In total, Hubble’s Calwell catalog – first published in December 2019 – now contains 87 of the 109 Calwell objects. The Space Telescope does not ignore the Messiah catalog, either; Hubble contains 969 images out of 110 Messianic objects. Both catalogs include a viewing guide on how to view each object in the sky.
Together the two collections contain some of the most beautiful images of the places around us – a wonderful journey through the wonders of the universe.
And the priceless treasure Hubble has proved to be a perfect proof.
You can understand more stunning images through the full Calwell Collection and Messier Collection on the NASA website.