Hubble observes star formation in a distant galaxy

Shane McGlaun - Jul 8, 2019, 8:50 am CDT
Hubble observes star formation in a distant galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope has been in orbit for many years and has taken some fascinating images over that time that have shown what is happening in the cosmos around us. NASA and the ESA have announced that a new Hubble Space Telescope image has been taken and made public that shows an image of a distant galaxy that has bright and colorful pockets of star formation.

The star formation looks like the petals of a rose and is in a spiral galaxy called NGC 972. The orange-pink glow in the galaxy is the result of hydrogen gas reacting with intense light streaming outward from newborn stars. The bright patches are entangled with dark streams of cosmic dust.

Astronomers look for these telltale signs of star formation when galaxies are studied through the cosmos. Star formation rates, locations, and histories offer clues about how the collections of dust and gas have evolved over time.

New generations of stars contribute to and are influenced by the broader forces and factors that mold galaxies all across the universe like gravity, radiation, matter, and dark matter. Galaxy NGC 972 was discovered by an astronomer called William Herschel in 1784.

Astronomers say that NGC 972 is a bit less than 70 million light-years away from the Earth. Hubble recently celebrated the Fourth of July with an image of some celestial fireworks with an image of Eta Carinae. The bubbles of Eta Carinae were formed during an episode observed in 1840 that makes the object so bright that it was the second brightest object in the sky and was used for navigation by mariners of the day. The star faded after that and can barely be seen by the naked eye today.

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