These two images of the Carina Nebula show how observations taken in visible and in infrared light can reveal complementary aspects of an object. The top image, taken in visible light, shows the top of the three-light-year-long pillar of gas and dust, bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image. The image at bottom was taken in infrared light, which can penetrate dust, and so the dense column and the surrounding greenish-colored gas all but disappear. Only a faint outline of the pillar remains, revealing the infant star that is probably blasting the jet. (Photo: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

These two images of the Carina Nebula show how observations taken in visible and in infrared light can reveal complementary aspects of an object. The top image, taken in visible light, shows the top of the three-light-year-long pillar of gas and dust, bathed in the glow of light from hot, massive stars off the top of the image. The image at bottom was taken in infrared light, which can penetrate dust, and so the dense column and the surrounding greenish-colored gas all but disappear. Only a faint outline of the pillar remains, revealing the infant star that is probably blasting the jet. (Photo: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team)

The cosmic postcards are back. Astronomers on Wednesday unveiled new pictures and observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. With the exception of a picture last month of the bruise on Jupiter caused by a comet, they were the first data obtained with the telescope since a crew spent 13 days in orbit last May replacing, refurbishing and rebuilding its vital components.

“This is truly Hubble’s new beginning,” Edward Weiler, the associate administrator for science at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, said at a news conference in Washington.

The event, which included Senator Barbara A. Mikulski, Democrat of Maryland, and the NASA administrator, retired Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., was a mix of science and celebration of the human spirit and innovation.

“I’m in awe of the human ingenuity that could conceive of such a thing and then make it happen,” said K. Megan McArthur, an astronaut who flew on the repair mission last spring

Heidi Hammel, of the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo., said, “We’re giddy with the quality of the data we’re getting.”

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