Astro Image in the News:
Hubble’s Anniversary Ring

Ring Galaxy
The Hubble Space Telescope's Advanced Camera for Surveys took this image of ring galaxy AM 0644–741 in January 2004. Four filtered exposures were combined to create this natural-color view.
Courtesy NASA, ESA, and The Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/STScI).
To mark the 14th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Space Telescope, the Hubble Heritage Team has presented the world with a ring — a ring galaxy. The unusual appearance of the star system designated AM 0644–741 is the result of a galaxy collision. Millions of years ago another galaxy (outside the field of view above) plunged directly through the center of the disk of what was once a spiral galaxy. The intruder left behind an expanding blue ring of intense star formation in its gravitational wake.

AM 0644–741 lies about 300 million light-years away in the constellation Dorado; the ring is about 150,000 light-years across. Visit HubbleSite.org for an animation that presents a wide-field view of the region and then zooms in for a close look along the ring.

Hubble was launched aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990. Although the future of the orbiting observatory remains uncertain, a committee has been established to study the options to keep the telescope operational.