A Starburst Galaxy

A lonely birthplaceThe MCG+07-33-027 galaxy is about 300 million light-years away from us, and it’s currently experiencing an extraordinarily high rate of star formation— a starburst. We see MCG+07-33-027 face on, so the galaxy’s spiral arms and the bright star-forming regions within them are clearly visible.

Most galaxies produce only handful new stars per year, but starburst galaxies can produce hundreds. In order to form new stars, the parent galaxy needs a large reserve of gas which is slowly depleted as stars spawn over time. A starburst often starts following a collision with another galaxy, but MCG+07-33-027 is rather isolated. The triggering of the starburst probably wasn’t caused by a collision with a neighboring or passing galaxy. It’s something of an enigma.

The bright object to the right of the galaxy is a foreground star in our own galaxy.

Image Credit: ESA

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