Author: NASA, ESA and J. Charlton (University of Pennsylvania); Image Processing: G. Kober (NASA Goddard / Catholic University of America)

This recently revised image of galaxies from NASA Hubble’s compact group 31 Hixon (HCG 31) shows star-forming streams interacting with four dwarf galaxies. The bright, distorted cluster of young blue-and-white stars (top right in the center) is NGC 1741. Although it appears to be a single galaxy, NGC 1741 is actually a pair of colliding dwarf galaxies. Another cigar-shaped dwarf galaxy to the right of the couple joins their dance with a thin blue stream of stars connecting the trio. The fourth member of HGC 31 is manifested by a stream of young blue stars pointing to a galaxy (bottom left of center) and indicating its interaction with three others. The brightest object in the center of the image is a star located between the Earth and HCG 31.

Encounters of dwarf galaxies are usually observed billions of light years from us, and therefore occurred billions of years ago, but HCG 31 is located approximately 166 million light years from Earth, relatively close by cosmic standards. The recently revised image highlights the regions of star formation spurred by the quartet’s gravitational dance. Blue represents visible blue light and shows young, hot, blue stars, while red represents closeinfrared light.

Image: Giant elliptical galaxy UGC 10143

Additional information:
To view the 2010 release of this image, see Jurassic Space: Ancient galaxies unite billions of years later

Citation: Image: Hubble shows the river of star formation (2022, May 17), obtained May 17, 2022 from

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