Hubble sees a galaxy festooned with stellar nurseries

July 30, 2012
Credit: ESA/NASA

( -- The galaxy NGC 4700 bears the signs of the vigorous birth of many new stars in this image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

The many bright, pinkish clouds in NGC 4700 are known as H II regions, where intense ultraviolet light from hot young stars is causing nearby to glow. H II regions often come part-and-parcel with the vast molecular clouds that spawn fresh stars, thus giving rise to the locally-ionized gas.

In 1610, French astronomer Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc peered through a telescope and found what turned out to be the first H II region on record: the , located relatively close to our Solar System here in the Milky Way. Astronomers study these regions throughout the Milky Way and those easily seen in other galaxies to gauge the of cosmic environments and their influence on the formation of stars.

NGC 4700 appears to be an edge-on galaxy. It was discovered back in March 1786 by the British astronomer William Herschel who noted it as a "very faint nebula." NGC 4700, along with many other relatively close galaxies, is found in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) and is classified as a barred , similar in structure to the Milky Way. It lies about 50 million light-years from us and is moving away from us at about 1400 km/second due to the expansion of the Universe.

Explore further: Hubble's view of barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672

Related Stories

Hubble's view of barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672

April 3, 2007

NGC 1672, visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is seen almost face on and shows regions of intense star formation. The greatest concentrations of star formation are found in the so-called starburst regions near the ends ...

Stars forced to relocate near the Southern Fish

March 3, 2009

About 100 million light-years away, in the constellation of Piscis Austrinus (the Southern Fish), three galaxies are playing a game of gravitational give-and-take that might ultimately lead to their merger into one enormous ...

Classic portrait of a barred spiral galaxy

February 3, 2012

( -- The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has taken a picture of the barred spiral galaxy NGC 1073, which is found in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, is a similar barred ...

Hubble observes a dwarf galaxy with a bright nebula

May 10, 2012

( -- The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has made detailed observations of the dwarf galaxy NGC 2366. While it lacks the elegant spiral arms of many larger galaxies, NGC 2366 is home to a bright, star-forming nebula ...

VLT takes a close look at NGC 6357

June 20, 2012

( -- ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) has taken the most detailed image so far of a spectacular part of the stellar nursery called NGC 6357. The view shows many hot young stars, glowing clouds of gas and weird dust ...

Hubble sees the needle galaxy, edge-on and up close

July 16, 2012

( -- This image snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals an exquisitely detailed view of part of the disc of the spiral galaxy NGC 4565. This bright galaxy is one of the most famous examples of an edge-on ...

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (7) Jul 31, 2012
One should remember to take certain phrases with a lot of salt. In this case it's the usual "star forming regions" or "stellar nurseries" which are stated in such a way as to imply that stars have actually been observed to form in such a region. To date, no one has confirmed the observation of stars forming in any such region. It's all still high conjecture.

Instead of accepting the sleight of words deception, the normal correction should be inserted: "It is thought that...".
1 / 5 (2) Jul 31, 2012
Sub: Astroomy to Cosmology
Comprehension of the Universe -in tiers- Eastern view
piece-meal observations- western observatories.
Where lies the gap ? On should understand -Source, Fields, Flows, Relectors along with protective index.
see Cosmology vedas interlinks
not rated yet Aug 01, 2012
The universe isn't 6000 years old, no matter how you try to spin it, kevin.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.