Hubble explores the mysteries of UGC 8201

March 19, 2015, NASA
Credit: ESA/NASA

The galaxy UGC 8201, captured here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is a dwarf irregular galaxy, so called because of its small size and chaotic structure. It lies just under 15 million light-years away from us in the constellation of Draco (the Dragon). As with most dwarf galaxies it is a member of a larger group of galaxies. In this case UCG 8201 is part of the M81 galaxy group; this group is one of the closest neighbors to the Local Group of galaxies, which contains our galaxy, the Milky Way.

UGC 8201 is at an important phase in its evolution. It has recently finished a long period of star formation, which had significant impact on the whole galaxy. This episode lasted for several hundred million years and produced a high number of newborn bright stars. These stars can be seen in this image as the dominating light source within the galaxy. This process also changed the distribution and amount of dust and gas in between the stars in the galaxy.

Such large star formation events need extensive sources of energy to trigger them. However, compared to larger galaxies, dwarf galaxies lack such sources and they do not appear to have enough gas to produce as many new stars as they do. This raises an important unanswered question in : How do relatively isolated, low-mass systems such as dwarf galaxies sustain for extended periods of time?

Due to its relative proximity to Earth UGC 8201 is an excellent object for research and provides an opportunity to improve our understanding of how evolve and grow.

Explore further: Image: Hubble's view of the polar ring of Arp 230

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5 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2015
I wonder, what our galaxy would look like if there's an observatory looking our way over there.
1 / 5 (3) Mar 19, 2015
How do relatively isolated, low-mass systems such as dwarf galaxies sustain star formation for extended periods of time?

How? Simple. They contain a massive core star intermittently ejecting new matter therefrom. How else will they grow eventually into the giants we also observe? Merger mania is really over-rated.
4 / 5 (1) Mar 19, 2015
If I would look for life these vast clusters of closely packed stars that are as old as the universe. Here if there is life these stars could harbor life that travel the distance between these stars and no need to travel elsewhere. The distances are much closer than we are to our star neighbors. It takes 40 years to go 18 billion miles and isnt anything close to a lightyear @ 64,000 mph. These stars are even closer a tight gravity dance keeps them all nicely balanced and filled with stable stars,some of the oldest stars in the universe. unlike the earth being so very far from other stars to make travel to them as almost impossible. But our minds are evolving much faster than evolution allows anything we can apply our selves to can be accomplished.not imagined yet. Look at all the stuff that has happened in the last century from earth to the moon in 14000 years. Now we can see atoms and are understanding the glue that holds atoms together.
1 / 5 (1) Mar 23, 2015
A massive black hole could do it. It would turn by passing mass concentrations partly into stars. 1108.1697

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