Friday, July 11, 2008

Star formation

Stellar[e] Machine

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Subaru

The green and red splotch in this image is the most active star-making galaxy in the very distant universe.

Baby Boomer

Credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University)

This is where the heat is on!

This (II Zw 96) is a system of merging galaxies with a bizarre shape. Powerful young starburst regions hang as long threadlike structures between the main galaxy cores. The system almost qualifies as an ultra-luminous system, but has not yet reached the late stage of coalescence that is the norm for most ultra-luminous systems. II Zw 96 is located in the constellation of Delphinus, the Dolphin, about 500 million* light-years away from Earth.

* Using several telescopes from around the world, scientists determined the exact distance to the galaxy - a whopping 12.3 billion light-years - substantially further away than the previous estimate of 500 million lightyears. That's looking back to a time when the universe was 1.3 billion years old (the universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old today.

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