NGC 2481


ngc-2841NGC 2841 lies 46 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major. It currently has a relatively low star formation rate compared to other spirals that are ablaze with emission nebulae. Notably missing are pinkish emission nebulae that accompany new star birth. It is likely that the radiation and supersonic winds from fiery, super-hot, young blue stars cleared out the remaining gas,and  shut down further nearby star formation.

Image Credit: NASA / ESA

Blue Blobs, M81, and M82


galex-view-m81_m82The Hubble Space Telescope has resolved some strange objects nicknamed “blue blobs” and found them to be brilliant blue clusters of stars born in the swirls and eddies of a galactic smashup 200 million years ago. These “blue blobs” exist along a wispy bridge of gas strung among three colliding galaxies, M81, M82, and NGC 3077about 12 million light-years away from Earth. This is not a place astronomers expect to find star clusters because the gas filaments should be too thin to allow enough material to accumulate and actually build so many stars. The star clusters in this diffuse structure might have formed from gas collisions and subsequent turbulence which locally enhanced the density of the gas streams.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA