Trumpler 14

Trompler 14This glittering star cluster that contains some of the brightest stars our galaxy. Trumpler 14 is located 8,000 light-years away in a large star-formation region called the Carina Nebula. Because the cluster is relatively young, only 500,000 years old, it has one of the highest concentrations of massive, luminous stars in the entire Milky Way.

The dark spot left of center is a blob of gas and dust seen in silhouette.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Messier 90

This Hubble image shows most of Messier 90, a spiral galaxy roughly 60 million light-year away in the constellation of Virgo. The galaxy is part of the Virgo Cluster, a group of over 1,200 galaxies bound together by gravity.

This image combines infrared, ultraviolet, and visible light gathered by Hubble’s Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 that was operational between 1994 and 2010. That camera produed images with the staircase-like shape as seen here because it used four light detectors with overlapping fields of view. One of the detectors had a higher magnification than the other three. When the four images are combined together in one picture, the high-magnification image needs to be reduced in size in order for the image to align properly, resulting in an image with a layout that looks like steps.

Messier 90 is remarkable; it is one of the few galaxies seen to be traveling toward the Milky Way, not away from it. As the Universe expands, the galaxies are generally moving away from each other, and that motion causes their light to be shifted to longer wavelengths by the Doppler Effect. But sometimes, local gravity conditions can change the relative motion of galaxies, so it’s possible for individual galaxies to be moving toward us. One result of such motion is that their light appears shifted to shorter wavelengths—blueshift rather than redshift.

M90’s blueshift is likely caused by the Virgo Cluster’s colossal mass accelerating its members to high velocities, sending them on paths that take them both towards and away from us over time. While the cluster itself is moving away from us, some of its constituent galaxies, such as M90, are moving faster than the cluster as a whole. From Earth, we see the galaxy heading towards us.

Image Credit: NASA/ ESA

The Hubble Legacy Field

This video pans across the Hubble Legacy Field, a mosaic of the distant Universe compiled from 16 years of observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. The ubble Legacy Field image contains 200,000 galaxies, some as old as 13.3 billion years, just 500 million years after the Big Bang.

Video Credits: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), K. Whitaker (University of Connecticut), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and the Hubble Legacy Field team.

NGC 1483

ngc-1483-smallNGC 1483 us a barred spiral galaxy a bit over 60 million light-years away.  Barred spiral galaxies are so named because of the prominent bar-shaped structures found in their center. Roughly two-thirds of all spiral galaxies, including the Milky Way, are barred. It’s been suggested that bars may be a common stage in the formation of spiral galaxies and may indicate that a galaxy has reached full maturity.

Image Credit: ESA / NASA