In the world of space exploration, few spacecraft are as well known as the Hubble Space Telescope. Hubble has given us an unprecedented view of the universe around us, revealing the sheer majestic beauty of the cosmos. Hubble has inspired millions.

If you go to Hubble’s gallery, you’ll see the 1300 or so images taken by the telescope, many of which you’ve probably seen. But, the Hubble gallery only scratches the surface of pictures taken by the telescope. Hundreds of thousands of images exist in a place known as the Hubble Legacy Archive.

The Hubble Legacy Archive contains 700,000+ unprocessed pictures taken by our orbiting icon. Many of these images contain hidden treasures, objects we’ve never seen before, and answers to some of our questions about the universe. This is where the Hubble’s Hidden Treasures project, sponsored by the European Space Agency, comes in.

This is a contest the ESA ran a few months ago as an attempt to process a chunk of the Hubble thumbnails. In the end, the contest received about 3000 submissions. These enthusiasts helped to compile and process a portion of the images, which is a time consuming task for scientists and laypeople alike.

Pictured here are the top 10 contest winners:

Top row, left to right:

  • NGC 6300 by Brian Campbell
  • V* PV Cephei by Alexey Romashin
  • IRAS 14568-6304 by Luca Limatola
  • NGC 1579 by Kathlyn Smith
  • B 1608+656 by Adam Kill

Bottom row, left to right:

  • NGC 4490 by Kathy van Pelt
  • NGC 6153 by Ralf Schoofs
  • NGC 6153 by Matej Novak
  • NGC 7814 by Gavrila Alexandru
  • NGC 7026 by Linda Morgan-O’Connor

As we continue to sift through the data given to us by that amazing instrument, we are bound to uncover some amazing pictures. Hopefully, these pictures will continue to inspire us as well as give us a deeper understanding of our amazing universe.

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