On Friday, Oct. 20, NASA astronauts Randy Bresknik and Joe Acaba will venture outside the International Space Station on the third of three spacewalks aimed at upgrading the orbiting laboratory.
“The spacewalk was originally set for Wednesday before mission managers replanned a new set of tasks due to a camera light failure. Bresnik and Acaba will now replace the camera light assembly on the Canadarm2’s newly installed Latching End Effector and install an HD camera on the starboard truss. The duo will also replace a fuse on Dextre’s payload platform and remove thermal insulation on two electrical spare parts housed on stowage platforms.”
Tonight on NASA’s Facebook page, the space agency will stream a Facebook Live stream to showcase the Hubble Space Telescope’s amazing photos of Messier objects, celestial objects of dazzling beauty.
Earlier today, NASA unveiled a new Flickr album of Hubble’s most amazing images of Messier objects over the years.
“The Messier catalog includes some of the most fascinating astronomical objects that can be observed from Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. Among them are deep-sky objects that can be viewed in stunning detail using larger telescopes but are also bright enough to be seen through a small telescope. This characteristic makes Messier objects extremely popular targets for amateur astronomers possessing all levels of experience and equipment. They are so popular that they have inspired a special award from the Astronomical League given to observers who are able to spot each of these objects. Those who succeed receive a certificate and are given the distinction of being in the Messier Club.”.
“While the Hubble Space Telescope has not produced images of every object in the Messier catalog, it has observed 93 of them as of August 2017. Some of Hubble’s photographs offer views of a given object in its entirety, but many focus on specific areas of interest. While Hubble is able to magnify objects very effectively, it has a relatively small field of view. This means that, in some cases, Hubble would need to take many exposures to capture an entire object. Although this is not always an efficient use of its time, as is the case for the widely spaced”open” star clusters in the Messier catalog, many exposures are taken when the scientific value justifies the time spent.
In order to create a mosaic image that depicts almost half of Andromeda, Hubble has taken nearly 7,400 exposures of the galaxy.