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Space photo of the week: Hubble roars back to life with exquisite image of nearby galaxy




What it is: NGC 1546, a spiral galaxy

Where it is: 50 million light-years away, in the Southern Hemisphere constellation Dorado 

When it was shared: June 18, 2024

Why it's so special: This is the first image from the Hubble Space Telescope in its new pointing mode. The iconic observatory's Science operations were suspended in late May after technical issues with one of its gyroscopes — devices that contain spinning wheels to help the telescope manage its movement. This component accurately points the telescope and measures the speed at which an object turns, according to the Hubble website. By June 14, engineers had decided to allow the aging space telescope to operate using just one gyroscope.

It's not a perfect solution. Hubble needs three gyroscopes to operate properly, and using one limits what it can point at — but this early evidence shows that the telescope can still get exquisite images.

Now, this image of the galaxy NGC 1546 is the first fruit of Hubble's new operating mode, although it used some data from the James Webb Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array in Chile to fill in certain details.

Related: Space photo of the week: NASA sees a 'Platypus' move on Jupiter's moon Europa