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Out-of-this-world images from space(49 images)

Astronauts from the United States and the European Space Agency, along with engineers and scientists on the ground around the world, are capturing some amazing images from outer space. Many were released in celebration of the Hubble Telescope's 30th anniversary. Here are some of the recent highlights.

This Hubble image shows a globular cluster known as NGC 104, or, more commonly, 47 Tucanae, since it is part of the constellation of Tucana (The Toucan) in the southern sky. Scientists using Hubble observed the white dwarfs in the cluster. These dying stars migrate from the crowded center of the cluster to its outskirts. While astronomers knew about this process, they had never seen it in action until the detailed study of 47 Tucanae. Photo courtesy of NASA/ESA
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MyCn18, a young planetary nebula located about 8,000 light-years away, was imaged with the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 aboard Hubble. This image reveals the true shape of MyCn18 to be an hourglass with an intricate pattern of "etchings" in its walls. This picture has been composed from three separate images taken in the light of ionized nitrogen (represented by red), hydrogen (green), and doubly ionized oxygen (blue). Photo courtesy of NASA/ESA
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The Eagle Nebula's Pillars of Creation, one of Hubble's most iconic images, shows the pillars as seen in visible light, capturing the multi-colored glow of gas clouds, wispy tendrils of dark cosmic dust, and the rust-colored elephants' trunks of the nebula's famous pillars. With these new images comes better contrast and a clearer view for astronomers to study how the structure of the pillars is changing over time. Photo courtesy of NASA/ESA
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This image from Hubble shows the dramatic shape and color of the Ring Nebula, otherwise known as Messier 57. From Earth's perspective, the nebula looks like a simple elliptical shape with a shaggy boundary. However, observations combining existing ground-based data with new Hubble data show that the nebula is shaped like a distorted doughnut. Photo courtesy of NASA/ESA
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