A Dwarf Galaxy


A messy star factoryThis is the blue compact dwarf galaxy known as Markarian 209. Because galaxies of this type are rich in gas and poor in heavy elements, astronomers use them to study star formation. Such conditions are believed to be similar to those existing in the early Universe. Markarian 209 has been studied extensively. It is filled with diffuse gas and peppered with star-forming regions towards its core. The lighter blue cloudy region towards the top right of the galaxy is filled with very young and hot newborn stars.

It was initially thought to be a young galaxy undergoing its initial period of star formation. However, research showed that Markarian 209 is actually very old. It is thought to have never had a dormant period with no stars forming that lasted for longer than 100 million years. Most of stars in Markarian 209 are quite young, under 3 million years old. Our Sun is around 4.6 billion years old.

A scattering of other bright galaxies can be seen across the frame of this Hubble image, including the bright golden oval that could be mistaken as part of Markarian 209 but is in fact a background galaxy.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA
Acknowledgement: Nick Rose

An X-Ray View (And Infrared Too)


ngc2207_chandraA few weeks ago, I posted a Hubble image of two merging galaxies, NGC 2207 and IC 2163. This composite image of those galaxies contains Chandra x-ray data in pink, optical light data from the Hubble in red, green, and blue (appearing as blue, white, orange, and brown), and infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope in red.

Image Credit: NASA

The Riddle of the Missing Stars


Credits—
Directed by: Georgia Bladon
Visual design and editing: Martin Kornmesser
Written by: Georgia Bladon and Nicky Guttridge
Narration: Sara Mendes da Costa
Images: NASA, ESA/Hubble
Videos: NASA, ESA/Hubble
Animations: Martin Kornmesser, NASA, ESA/Hubble
Music: Jennifer Athena Galatis
Web and technical support: Mathias Andre and Raquel Yumi Shida
Executive producer: Lars Lindberg Christensen

NGC 986


A spiral in a furnaceNGC 986 is found in the constellation of Fornax (The Furnace), located in the southern sky. NGC 986 is around 56 million light-years away, and its golden center and barred swirling arms are clearly visible in this image assembled from data captured by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. (The stars in the upper right appear a little fuzzy because a gap in the Hubble data was filled in with images from ground-based telescopes. The view  is accurate, but the resolution is no match for Hubble.)

Barred spiral galaxies are spiral galaxies with stars forming a central bar-shaped structure. NGC 986 has the characteristic S-shaped structure of this type of galaxy. Young blue stars can be seen dotted through the galaxy’s arms, and the core is also alight with star formation.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA