Since the launch on NASA’s Hubble telescope in 1990, it has made more than 1.4 million observations, viewing locations as far as 13.4 billion light years from Earth, changing our fundamental understanding of the universe. This piece explores three of the Hubble telescopes discoveries that I find most fascinating.
In 2002, an unexplained flash of light from a red supergiant star left what looked like an expanding bubble of debris. It was later discovered that the light was simply illuminating clouds that were already in place around the star. Since light travels at a finite speed, the flash took years to reach the most distant clouds and expose them. This phenomenon is known as a “light echo.”
This photo taken by the Hubble telescope is one of its most famous. It shows a giant red nebula and it’s blue neighbour which are part of a vast star-forming region located 163,000 light years away. The image has been nicknamed “cosmic reef” as it resembles a vast coral reef floating among a sea of stars.
Hubble’s ability to photograph in ultraviolet has been used to observe the extraordinary Auroras found on the Northand South poles of Jupiter. Although they cannot be seen by the naked eye, they are hundreds of times more energetic than those on Earth and exist continually.
Unlike Earth, the auroras at the north and south pole are asynchronous, continually pulsing and moving out of sync. The artist, Ron Miller, has created an imagined view of Jupiter’s auroras seen from within the Jovian cloudscape.
Aileen (b.1994) is a Scottish composer, accordionist and arranger based in Glasgow and enjoys a varied career as a freelance musician.
Aileen has worked with and been commissioned by many of the UK’s ensembles such as The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Red Note Ensemble, The Nevis Ensemble, The Michael Cuddigan Trust, The Edinburgh Quartet, The Brodick Quartet, The Hebrides Ensemble and The Psappha Ensemble.
Aileen loves a natter and co-hosts the Ear to the Ground podcast, talking to Scottish/Scottish-based composers about the work and promoting their music in partnership with New Music Scotland.
In 2017, Aileen graduated from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a Bachelor of Music Degree with First Class Honours and is currently studying a Master of Music Degree at RCS with scholarships awarded by The Dewar Arts Award, The Cross Trust, The Countess of Munster Musical Trust and The North Lanarkshire Musical Trust.