Hubble’s hidden treasures are yours to find

Posted by Sarah Scoles
on Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Be an astronomy archaeologist. Dig up images from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) that only a few scientists have ever seen (and about which they never wrote press releases). I dare you.

Joshua Lake found a previously unreleased image of this stellar nursery in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Called LHA 120-N11, the dust cloud is full of heavy elements that could eventually form rocky planets like Earth // NASA/ESA; Acknowledgement: Joshua Lake

While many beautiful pictures from the HST have made it into the public eye, thousands have not. Scientists are calling these images “Hubble’s hidden treasures.” While they search the archive for sparkly astronomical gems and publish them as the Hubble Pictures of the Week, they say “the archive is so vast that nobody really knows the full extent of what Hubble has observed.”

To ensure that the ratio of “inspiring HST images on the internet” to “inspiring HST images that exist” approaches one, www.spacetelescope.org invites the public to comb through the archive, find such diamonds in the rough, and hold them under the spotlight.

But perhaps before showing them off to the world, you would like to polish them. You can find tutorials about image processing on the Hidden Treasures page.

If you’re a talented hunter and artistic manipulator, you could find fame like Joshua Lake, a high school astronomy teacher at Pomfret School in Pomfret, Connecticut, who uncovered a picture of a star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

Hubble's Hidden Treasures is organized by ESA/Hubble, the education and public outreach office for the Hubble Space Telescope in Europe, with participation from the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

The Hidden Treasures team can be contacted at hidden_treasures@spacetelescope.org.

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