NGC 1232

NGC1232The colors of the different regions of NGC 1232 stand out in this picture—the central areas contain older reddish stars while the spiral arms are populated by younger blue stars and many star-forming regions. This galaxy is about 100 million light-years away and about twice the size of our Milky Way galaxy. Note the companion galaxy at the lower left, shaped like the sqashed greek letter “theta”.

Image Credit: ESO

Thor’s Helmet

Thor's HelmentNGC 2359 (aka Thor’s Helmet) is an emission nebula in the constellation Canis Major. The nebula is about 15,000 light-years away and 30 light-years across. The central star is an extremely hot giant thought to be in a brief, pre-supernova stage of evolution. This image was taken by the Very Large Telescope at the European Southern Observatory in Chile.

Image Credit: ESO

Rotating a Galaxy

This animation illustrates the rotation rate of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC). Hubble Space Telescope observations have been used to determine that the central part of the LMC completes a rotation every 250 million years. It takes more than 10 million years for even the small amount of rotation illustrated in this video.

Video Credit: NASA

A Hermit Galaxy

UGC 4879 is an irregular dwarf galaxy. It is very isolated, which means that it has not interacted with any surrounding galaxies, making it an ideal laboratory for studying star formation uncomplicated such interactions. Studies of UGC 4879 have revealed a significant amount of star formation in the first 4-billion-years after the Big Bang, followed by a strange nine-billion-year lull in star formation which ended about 1-billion-years ago. That behavior is puzzling, and the solitary galaxy continues to provide ample study material for astronomers looking to understand the complex mysteries of starbirth throughout the Universe.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA