NASAs Hubble telescope main camera breaks and USA shutdown might delay fix

Hubble Space Telescope’s team works to revive camera amid NASA shutdown

Hubble captures awe-inspiring PHOTO of Triangulum galaxy that spans 19,400 light-years As the holiday season draws to a close, the Hubble telescope has provided one truly massive parting gift: an immensely detailed photo of one of our galactic neighbors that spans 19,400 light-years across.

Nasa's Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe in 2012 estimated that the universe is more than 13 billion years old.

Researchers have discovered the brightest quasar yet known, detected from the period when the universe's star-making hydrogen gas became ionized, known as "reionization".

According to a recent NASA announcement, one of Hubble's main instruments, the Wide Field Camera 3, has suffered some sort of hardware failure and is now offline. Gas falling towards the black hole releases incredible amounts of energy, which can be observed over all wavelengths.

Pacucci and his colleagues said the super-bright quasar, catalogued as J043947.08+163415.7, could hold the record for being the brightest in the early universe for quite some time. "But we are still figuring out what the right path forward is".

The data shows not only that the supermassive black hole is accreting matter to itself at an extremely high rate, but also that the quasar may be producing up to 10,000 stars per year, scientists said. "But here we were lucky, and caught this one, and can now study it in more detail", Dragomir said.

Astronomers generally avoid looking for quasars in this region, because the abundance of stars and dust there drown out the faint quasar light.

He added: 'Its properties and its distance make it a prime candidate to investigate the evolution of distant quasars and the role supermassive black holes in their centres had on star formation'.

"My first impression on seeing the Hubble images was, wow, that really is a lot of star formation", astronomer Julianne Dalcanton of the University of Washington in Seattle, who led the project.

The quasar would have gone undetected if not for the power of gravitational lensing, which boosted its brightness by a factor of 50.

Data will now be gathered on the quasar with the use of the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope to try to identify its chemical composition and temperatures of intergalactic gas in the early universe.

"Hubble is still conducting science observations with its other instruments (one camera and two spectrographs) - more than enough to keep the observatory active for the near future", Cheryl Gundy, deputy news chief at the Space Telescope Science Institute told UPI in an email.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

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