Digitized Sky Survey Image of the galaxy NGC 4945 js… — Star Station Library City Crossroads Temple Inn Gateway Theater Astral Garden Labyrinth School River Tree Life Light Love Imagination Dream Peace

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The Iris Nebula js http://bit.ly/2eLjEiQ — Star Station Library City Crossroads Temple Inn Gateway Theater Astral Garden Labyrinth School River Tree Life Light Love Imagination Dream Peace

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Hubble Hotbed of Vigorous Star Formation

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the iridescent interior of one of the most active galaxies in our local neighborhood — NGC 1569, a small galaxy located about eleven million light-years away in the constellation of Camelopardalis (The Giraffe).

This galaxy is currently a hotbed of vigorous star formation. NGC 1569 is a starburst galaxy, meaning that — as the name suggests — it is bursting at the seams with stars, and is currently producing them at a rate far higher than that observed in most other galaxies. For almost 100 million years, NGC 1569 has pumped out stars more than 100 times faster than the Milky Way!

As a result, this glittering galaxy is home to super star clusters, three of which are visible in this image — one of the two bright clusters is actually the superposition of two massive clusters. Each containing more than a million stars, these brilliant blue clusters reside within a large cavity of gas carved out by multiple supernovae, the energetic remnants of massive stars.

In 2008, Hubble observed the galaxy’s cluttered core and sparsely populated outer fringes. By pinpointing individual red giant stars, Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys enabled astronomers to calculate a new — and much more precise — estimate for NGC 1569’s distance. This revealed that the galaxy is actually one and a half times farther away than previously thought, and a member of the IC 342 galaxy group.

Astronomers suspect that the IC 342 cosmic congregation is responsible for the star-forming frenzy observed in NGC 1569. Gravitational interactions between this galactic group are believed to be compressing the gas within NGC 1569. As it is compressed, the gas collapses, heats up and forms new stars.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Aloisi, Ford; Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Text credit: European Space Agency

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Hubble Spots a Secluded Starburst Galaxy

This image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and shows a starburst galaxy named MCG+07-33-027. This galaxy lies some 300 million light-years away from us, and is currently experiencing an extraordinarily high rate of star formation — a starburst.

Normal galaxies produce only a couple of new stars per year, but starburst galaxies can produce a hundred times more than that. As MCG+07-33-027 is seen face-on, the galaxy’s spiral arms and the bright star-forming regions within them are clearly visible and easy for astronomers to study.

In order to form newborn stars, the parent galaxy has to hold a large reservoir of gas, which is slowly depleted to spawn stars over time. For galaxies in a state of starburst, this intense period of star formation has to be triggered somehow — often this happens due to a collision with another galaxy. MCG+07-33-027, however, is special; while many galaxies are located within a large cluster of galaxies, MCG+07-33-027 is a field galaxy, which means it is rather isolated. Thus, the triggering of the starburst was most likely not due to a collision with a neighboring or passing galaxy and astronomers are still speculating about the cause. The bright object to the right of the galaxy is a foreground star in our own galaxy.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and N. Grogin (STScI)
Text credit: European Space Agency

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A Hubble Sky Full of Stars

Located approximately 22,000 light-years away in the constellation of Musca (The Fly), this tightly packed collection of stars — known as a globular cluster — goes by the name of NGC 4833. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the dazzling stellar group in all its glory.

NGC 4833 is one of the over 150 globular clusters known to reside within the Milky Way. These objects are thought to contain some of the oldest stars in our galaxy. Studying these ancient cosmic clusters can help astronomers to unravel how a galaxy formed and evolved, and give an idea of the galaxy’s age.

Globular clusters are responsible for some of the most striking sights in the cosmos, with hundreds of thousands of stars congregating in the same region of space. Hubble has observed many of these clusters during its time in orbit around our planet, each as breathtaking as the last.

Image credit: ESA/Hubble and NASA
Text credit: European Space Agency

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