Hubble Captures Image of Busy Star Factory, Galaxy NGC 1792

An orange glow emanates from the center of NGC 1792, the heart of this star furnace. This intimate view of NGC 1792 was captured by the NASA / ESA Hubble Space Telescope and gives us a glimpse of this galactic powerhouse. The huge streaks of tell-tale blue seen across the galaxy indicate areas that are full of young, hot stars, and the orange tones seen closer to the center are the older, cooler stars. ESA / Hubble & NASA, J. Lee; Recognition: Leo Shatz

NASA shared another beautiful image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. This image shows the galaxy NGC 1792, located about 36 million light years away in the constellation Columba (The Dove).

This galaxy is interesting because it is both a spiral galaxy – like the Milky Way – and a starburst galaxy, in which stars are produced at an enormously high speed. In our galaxy, stars are produced at a rate of around three times the mass of the Sun per year, but in a starburst galaxy, stars are produced up to ten times faster. This rapid production of stars is possible because of the large reservoir of gas in the galaxy that forms the building blocks of new stars.

One topic that Hubble scientists are studying is how star formation slows down before the galaxy uses up all of its gas. Supernovae and stellar winds are believed to disperse the gas and stop star formation, leaving some gas.

In the picture you can see dark spots of dust blocking the light. This light comes from all newly born stars that shine brightly and illuminate the hydrogen gas with their infrared radiation.

The same galaxy was imaged by two ground-based instruments of the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in 2003. You can see the difference in how much detail can be gathered from a space-based instrument that does not need to look through the Earth’s atmosphere. and also differences in the coloring of images to highlight certain features:

Color composite image of the starburst spiral galaxy NGC 1792, recorded with the multimode instruments FORS1 and FORS2 (at VLT MELIPAL and YEPUN).Color composite image of the starburst spiral galaxy NGC 1792, recorded with the multimode instruments FORS1 and FORS2 (at VLT MELIPAL and YEPUN). The galaxy is characterized by unusually bright far-infrared radiation; This is due to dust heated by young stars. ESO / P. Barthel

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