Spiral Galaxy NGC 6503

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Spiral galaxy NGC 6503 is in a lonely position, at the edge of a strangely empty patch of space called the Local Void. The Local Void is a stretch of space at least 150 million light-years across that seems completely empty of stars or galaxies. Dark dust lanes snake across the galaxy's bright arms and center, giving it a mottled appearance. Bright red patches of gas can be seen scattered through the galaxy's swirling arms, mixed with bright blue regions that contain newly forming stars.

Release Date: June 23, 2015

Credit: NASAESA, D. Calzetti (University of Massachusetts), H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration

Spiral Galaxy NGC 1309

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Release Date: August 6, 2014

Credit: NASAESA, The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and A. Riess (JHU/STScI)

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Galaxy Spiral NGC 1309

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This pinwheel-shaped spiral galaxy was home to a supernova whose light reached Earth in 2002. Scientists are using the supernova burst to measure the expansion rate of the universe.

Release Date: February 7, 2006

Credit: NASAESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), and A. Riess (STScI)

Spiral Galaxy M83

A photogenic and favorite target for amateur astronomers, the full beauty of nearby spiral galaxy M83 is unveiled in all of its glory in this Hubble Space Telescope mosaic image. The vibrant magentas and blues reveal the galaxy is ablaze with star formation. The galaxy, also known as the Southern Pinwheel, lies 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra.

The Hubble photograph captures thousands of star clusters, hundreds of thousands of individual stars, and "ghosts" of dead stars called supernova remnants. The galactic panorama unveils a tapestry of the drama of stellar birth and death spread across 50,000 light-years.

The newest generations of stars are forming largely in clusters on the edges of the dark spiral dust lanes. These brilliant young stellar groupings, only a few million years old, produce huge amounts of ultraviolet light that is absorbed by surrounding diffuse gas clouds, causing them to glow in pinkish hydrogen light.

Gradually, the fierce stellar winds from the youngest, most massive stars blow away the gas, revealing bright blue star clusters and giving a "Swiss Cheese" appearance to the spiral arms. These youngest star clusters are about 1 million to 10 million years old. The populations of stars up to 100 million years or older appear yellow or orange by comparison because the young blue stars have already burned out.

Interstellar "bubbles" produced by nearly 300 supernovas from massive stars have been found in this Hubble image. By studying these supernova remnants, astronomers can better understand the nature of the stars that exploded and dispersed nuclear processed chemical elements back into the galaxy, contributing to the next generation of new stars.

This image is being used to support a citizen science project titled STAR DATE: M83. The primary goal is to estimate ages for approximately 3,000 star clusters. Amateur scientists will use the presence or absence of the pink hydrogen emission, the sharpness of the individual stars, and the color of the clusters to estimate ages. Participants will measure the sizes of the star clusters and any associated emission nebulae. Finally, the citizen scientists will "explore" the image, identifying a variety of objects ranging from background galaxies to supernova remnants to foreground stars.

STAR DATE: M83 is a joint collaborative effort between the Space Telescope Science Institute and Zooniverse, creators of several citizen science projects including Galaxy Zoo, Planet Hunters, and the Andromeda Project (go to www.zooniverse.org to see the full list). The M83 project is scheduled to launch on Monday, January 13, 2014. People interested in exploring this remarkable image in more detail, and in directly participating in a science project, can visit http://www.projectstardate.org .

Release Date: January 9, 2014

Credit: NASAESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgement: W. Blair (STScI/Johns Hopkins University) and R. O'Connell (University of Virginia)

Face-On Spiral Galaxy NGC 3982

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Though the universe is chock full of spiral-shaped galaxies, no two look exactly the same. This face-on spiral galaxy, called NGC 3982, is striking for its rich tapestry of star birth, along with its winding arms. The arms are lined with pink star-forming regions of glowing hydrogen, newborn blue star clusters, and obscuring dust lanes that provide the raw material for future generations of stars. The bright nucleus is home to an older population of stars, which grow ever more densely packed toward the center.

NGC 3982 is located about 68 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. The galaxy spans about 30,000 light-years, one-third of the size of our Milky Way galaxy. This color image is composed of exposures taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), and the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). The observations were taken between March 2000 and August 2009. The rich color range comes from the fact that the galaxy was photographed invisible and near-infrared light. Also used was a filter that isolates hydrogen emission that emanates from bright star-forming regions dotting the spiral arms.

Release Date: October 19, 2010

Credit: NASAESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); Acknowledgment: A. Riess (STScI)

Barred Spiral Galaxy NGC 6217

This is the first image of a celestial object taken with the newly repaired Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS). The camera was restored to operation during the STS-125 servicing mission to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

The barred spiral galaxy NGC 6217 was photographed on June 13 and July 8, 2009, as part of the initial testing and calibration of Hubble's ACS. The galaxy lies 60 million light-years away in the north circumpolar constellation Ursa Major.

 

Release Date: September 9, 2009

Credit: NASAESA, and the Hubble SM4 ERO Team

Spitzer Hubble Chandra of M101

This image of the spiral galaxy M101 is a composite of views from the Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory. Red indicates infrared light, yellow is visible, and blue is X-ray.

Release Date: February 10, 2009

Credit: NASAESA, CXC, SSC, and STScI