Hubble delivers the best look yet at galaxy M83

Image: STScI/AURA/ESA/NASA

Wide Field Camera 3, installed last year on the Hubble Space Telescope, has captured the most detailed view of distant star formation yet in the galaxy M83, located 15 million light-years away in the constellation Hydra.

The images of M83 show stars at every stage of development. Young stars — less than 10 million years old — reside at the edge of the dark dust ridges spiralling from the galaxy’s core [the bright white region at right]. Their ultraviolet light ionises lingering hydrogen gas bubbles, encasing them in a red glow. In some spots, energetic winds have been created by the young stars’ charged particles and remnants from recent supernova events. These winds have blasted the hydrogen away, making the slightly older blue star clusters behind them clearly visible.

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