NASA’s Hubble telescope relying on single-gyro ‘pointing mode’ to capture galactic images

NASA has released a stunning image of a nearby galaxy, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope using a new pointing mode that relies on just one gyroscope. This mode was implemented after a gyro issue temporarily halted the telescope’s operations. The galaxy in the image is NGC 1546, located in the Dorado constellation. Scientists at NASA believe that Hubble will now be able to conduct most of its scientific observations using this single-gyro pointing mode. The image showcases the galaxy’s core, with “dust lanes” illuminated from behind, and brilliant blue regions indicating active star formations shining through the dust. Dr. Jennifer Wiseman from NASA expressed her excitement about the success of the new pointing mode, stating that it opens up the potential for years of discovery, ranging from our solar system to exoplanets and distant galaxies.
The image in question was obtained using the Wide Field Camera 3 on board the Hubble Space Telescope. In addition to the main subject, several background galaxies can also be seen in the image.

This particular image is among the first to be taken using the telescope’s new pointing mode. However, earlier this month, NASA announced that operations had been temporarily suspended due to an issue with one of the gyroscopes. As a result, the telescope entered a safe mode automatically.

The problematic gyroscope was one of the three remaining operational ones out of the six installed in 2009. Despite this setback, Hubble has been successfully observing the universe since its launch in 1990 and recently celebrated its 34th anniversary in operation.