Hubble Rocks the Vote


Planetary nebula NGC 2818. Bask in its glory.

—Image courtesy NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team (STScI / AURA)

Have you ever looked at the latest bit of space glam from the Hubble Space Telescope and thought to yourself: Yeah, that’s nice, but I *so* wish they’d snap a few shots of Planetary Nebula NGC 6072, that’d kick it hardcore.

Well, now’s your chance to tell NASA what to do.

As part of the ongoing International Year of Astronomy, the folks at Hubble are giving you the opportunity to aim that ginormous telescope at an object of your choice.

The idea is that we’d get new images of something Hubble has never looked at before. The result would be not only purty pictures but some pretty neat science, hopefully.

Of course, the best we have to go on right now are blurry, grainy, and in some cases overexposed pictures of objects that we don’t know a lot about. That’s the point, but it also makes it hard to know what the best target would be, scientifically speaking.

They’ve narrowed the options down to six candidates based on the brightest things the ‘scope would be able to see in the given observation window.

Over at Hubblesite, you can check out low-res sky survey images of your choices—a star-forming nebula, two planetary nebulae, and three different takes on galaxies.

For some help deciding, the site also has a brief video of Dr. Frank Summers, Hubble astronomer, walking you through the candidates’ qualifications.

Nominations are due by March 1, and the Hubble shot of the winning object will be released in April. So get out there and vote, kiddies!

Changing Planet