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

The Heart of the Galaxy

This image resembles red ink filtering through water or a crackling stream of electricity, but it is actually a view of our cosmic home. It’s the central plane of the Milky Way as seen by ESA’s Planck satellite and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) operated at an altitude of around 5100m in the Chilean Andes by the European Southern Observatory. While APEX is best at viewing small patches of sky in great detail, Planck data is ideal for studying areas of sky at the largest scales. The two data sets complement each other and offer a unique perspective on the sky.

The bright pockets scattered along the galactic plane this view are compact sources of submillimetre radiation: very cold, clumpy, dusty regions that may are being studied for information on multiple questions ranging from how individual stars form to how the entire Universe is structured. From right to left, notable sources include NGC 6334 (the rightmost bright patch), NGC 6357 (just to the left of NGC 6334), the galactic core itself (the central, most extended, and brightest patch in this image), M8 (the bright lane branching from the plane to the bottom left), and M20 (visible to the upper left of M8).

Image Credit: ESA / ESO


These six images are part of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. The survey data provide detailed information on young, massive stars and star clusters and how their environment affects their development. The six imaged galaxies include two dwarf galaxies (UGC 5340 and UGCA 281) and four large spiral galaxies (NGC 3368, NGC 3627, NGC 6744, and NGC 4258). The images are a blend of ultraviolet light and visible light from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Image Credits: NASA / ESA / LEGUS

HH 666

Herbig Haro 666 is a young star that is shooting out narrow jets of material in opposite directions. The jets are a byproduct of material from a surrounding cloud of dust and gas falling onto to the star which is heated and then escaping along the star’s spin axis at over 300,000 km/h. HH 666 is deep within the obscuring cloud of when viewed in visible light. In an infrared view the cloud mostly disappears, revealing the stars within and the jets extending for more than a light-year.

Video Credit: NASA / ESA / STScI