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Hubble Eyes Galactic Refurbishment

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Posted May 4, 2015

The smudge of stars at the center of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is a galaxy known as UGC 5797. UGC 5797 is an emission line galaxy, meaning that it is currently undergoing active star formation. The result is a stellar population that is constantly being refurbished as massive bright blue stars form. Galaxies with prolific star formation are not only veiled in a blue tint, but are key to the continuation of a stellar cycle.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Luca Limatola

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Luca Limatola

In this image UGC 5797 appears in front of a background of spiral galaxies. Spiral galaxies have copious amounts of dust and gas — the main ingredient for stars — and therefore often also belong to the class of emission line galaxies.

Spiral galaxies have disk-like shapes that drastically vary in appearance depending on the angle at which they are observed. The collection of spiral galaxies in this frame exhibits this attribute acutely: Some are viewed face-on, revealing the structure of the spiral arms, while the two in the bottom left are seen edge-on, appearing as plain streaks in the sky. There are many spiral galaxies, with varying colors and at different angles, sprinkled across this image — just take a look.

Source: NASA

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