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In pictures: Hubble explores the universe

Hubble Space Telescope images from the past ten years, documenting new discoveries about the universe

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This photo provided by NASA, taken in 2006 by the Hubble Space Telescope shows a cluster of diverse galaxies. A study led by a Yale University astronomer looks at elliptical galaxies, such as the bright one in the top middle of this photograph, and finds they have far more stars than initially thought. That means the universe may have three times more stars than astronomers previously figured. The bright part of the Hubble photo shows a cluster of galaxies 450 million light-years with the giant elliptical galaxy ESO 325-G004 looming large at the cluster's center.

AP

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This 2009 handout image provided by NASA is a composite image from a number of telescopes, including NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, which shows a space blob in both optical and infrared light. The blob is the yellow mass of gas. Inside it is an adolescent galaxy in white. The red spots are galaxies seen in the infrared spectrum.

NASA/HANDOUT/AP

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The Hubble Space telescope's soon-to-be decommissioned Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 photographed this image of planetary nebula K 4-55 as its final image, taken by WFPC2 on May 4, 2009. The colors represent the makeup of the various emission clouds in the nebula: red represents nitrogen, green represents hydrogen, and blue represents oxygen. K 4-55 is nearly 4,600 light-years away in the constellation Cygnus.

NASA/HANDOUT/REUTERS

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Several hundred never before seen galaxies are visible in what was then considered the "deepest-ever" view of the universe, called the Hubble Deep Field (HDF), made with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope in this image released by NASA May 4, 2009. Besides the classical spiral and elliptical shaped galaxies, there is a bewildering variety of other galaxy shapes and colors that are important clues to understanding the evolution of the universe.

ROBERT WILLIAMS AND THE HUBBLE DEEP FIELD TEAM / NASA/REUTERS

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This image provided by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope taken with its Wide Field Camera 3 on July 23, 2009 shows the sharpest visible-light picture taken of the impact feature (dark spot) and "backsplash" of material from a small object that plunged into Jupiter's atmosphere and disintegrated. The only other time in history such a feature has been seen on Jupiter was in 1994 during the collision of fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. This is a natural color image of Jupiter as seen in visible light.

AP

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This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows a celestial object that looks like a delicate butterfly.

AP

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This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows stars bursting to life in the chaotic Carina Nebula.

AP

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This undated handout image provided by NASA, released Sept. 9, 2009, taken by the refurbished Hubble Space Telescope, shows a clash among members of a famous galaxy quintet reveals an assortment of stars across a wide color range, from young, blue stars to aging, red stars.

AP

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This image provided by NASA Aug. 10, 2010 shows a long-exposure Hubble Space Telescope image of the majestic face-on spiral galaxy NGC4911 located deep within the Coma Cluster of galaxies, which lies 320 million light-years away in the northern constellation Coma Berenices. (AP Photo/NASA)

AP

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A mottled landscape showing the impact crater Tycho had on Earth's Moon is seen in this NASA's Hubble Telescope handout image released May 4, 2012, taken in preparation to observe the transit of Venus across the Sun's face from June 5 to 6, 2012. The Hubble cannot look at the Sun directly, so astronomers pointed the telescope at Earth's moon, using it as a mirror to capture reflected sunlight and isolate the small fraction of the light that passes through Venus's atmosphere. Imprinted on that small amount of light are the fingerprints of the planet's atmospheric makeup. These observations mimic a technique that was initially used to sample the atmospheres of giant planets outside the solar system passing in front of their stars.

NASA/HANDOUT/REUTERS

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The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, taken using the Wide Field Channel of the Advanced Camera for Surveys aboard the Hubble Space Telescope, portrays a beautiful view of the galaxy NGC 7090 in this image made available Sept. 17, 2012. The galaxy is viewed edge-on from the Earth, meaning we cannot easily see the spiral arms, which are full of young, hot stars. However, our side-on view shows the galaxy's disc and the bulging central core, where typically a large group of cool old stars are packed in a compact, spheroidal region. Lying in the southern constellation of Indus (The Indian), NGC 7090 is located about thirty million light-years from the Sun. Astronomer John Herschel first observed this galaxy on October 4, 1834.

NASA/HANDOUT/REUTERS

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A new, improved portrait of Hubble's deepest-ever view of the universe, called the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, which shows a small area of space in the constellation Fornax, created using Hubble Space Telescope data from 2003 and 2004, is seen in this composite image released Sept. 25, 2012. By collecting faint light over many hours of observation, it revealed thousands of galaxies, both nearby and very distant, making it the deepest image of the universe ever taken at that time, according to the news release.

HANDOUT/REUTERS

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