Swift was designed to detect gamma ray bursts, but it captures some spectacular photos
NASA's Swift space telescope was designed to detect gamma-ray bursts, one of the most energetic phenomena in the Universe. But that doesn't mean it isn't suitable for other tasks, scientist learn to make the most out of expensive instruments like Swift and can't really afford not to use any opportunity to gather more data.Swift has three instruments, the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) is tuned to gamma ray frequencies and is the one that actually detects the bursts.
There's also an X-ray telescope that can monitor the afterglow left behind by a gamma ray burst. Finally, an optical/ultraviolet telescope (UVOT) picks up the afterglow light in the optical and UV range.
One benefit of this last instrument is that, well, it's optical, meaning the datait captures can be processed by our eyes without too many alterations. Which is to say, it takes pictures, pretty pictures.
Thankfully, the Swift team has decided to release the most spectacular photos captured with UVOT along with explanations about what they represent. You can check out some of them in the gallery below and the rest on the official page.