Image: Hubble sees a swirl of star formation

May 27, 2013
Credit: European Space Agency/NASA Hubble

(Phys.org) —This beautiful, glittering swirl is named, rather un-poetically, J125013.50+073441.5. A glowing haze of material seems to engulf the galaxy, stretching out into space in different directions and forming a fuzzy streak in this image. It is a starburst galaxy—a name given to galaxies that show unusually high rates of star formation. The regions where new stars are being born are highlighted by sparkling bright blue regions along the galactic arms.

Studying starburst galaxies can tell us a lot about galactic evolution and star formation. These galaxies start off with huge amounts of gas, which is used to form new stars. This period of furious star formation is only a phase; once all the gas is used up, this star birth slows down. Other famous starbursts captured by Hubble include the Antennae Galaxies and Messier 82, the latter of which is forming new stars ten times faster than our galaxy, the Milky Way.

The data for this image were collected using Hubble's 3 as part of a study named LARS ( Reference Sample), which is investigating the interaction between radiation and matter in relatively nearby starburst galaxies.

Explore further: Thermonuclear supernova ejects our galaxy's fastest star (w/ video)

Related Stories

Hubble sees light and dust in a nearby starburst galaxy

Apr 08, 2013

(Phys.org) —Visible as a small, sparkling hook in the dark sky, this beautiful object is known as J082354.96+280621.6, or J082354.96 for short. It is a starburst galaxy, so named because of the incredibly ...

Hubble observes the hidden depths of Messier 77

Mar 28, 2013

(Phys.org) —The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has captured this vivid image of spiral galaxy Messier 77, one of the most famous and well-studied galaxies in the sky. The patches of red across this image ...

Hubble catches the moment the lights went out

Feb 06, 2013

(Phys.org)—The further away you look, the further back in time you see. Astronomers use this fact to study the evolution of the Universe by looking at nearby and more distant galaxies and comparing their ...

Recommended for you

'Planck' puts Einstein to the test

12 hours ago

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analysing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European ...

Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens

12 hours ago

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes.

Planet 'reared' by four parent stars

Mar 04, 2015

Growing up as a planet with more than one parent star has its challenges. Though the planets in our solar system circle just one star—our sun—other more distant planets, called exoplanets, can be reared ...

User comments : 0

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.