Chris McKitterick (mckitterick) wrote,
Chris McKitterick

Astro-Image of the Day: irregular galaxy I Zwicky 18

Here's a gorgeous photo courtesy of NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. It's not only pretty but also rich with unusual astro-info: "I Zwicky 18, a dwarf irregular galaxy, is much smaller than our Milky Way Galaxy. The concentrated bluish-white knots embedded in the heart of the galaxy are two major starburst regions where stars are forming at a furious rate. The wispy blue filaments surrounding the central starburst regions are bubbles of gas... blown away by stellar winds and supernovae explosions from a previous generation of hot, young stars. This gas is now heated by intense ultraviolet radiation unleashed by a new generation of hot, young stars."

Click the image to see the story.

Notice its companion galaxy, the other irregular galaxy in this photo. Because they're so close and the companion's mass is similar to ol' Zwicky's, their gravitational interaction is setting off the new star formation (blue stars) even though both galaxies contain stars 10 billion years old (red stars). The other disks and spheres outside of the foreground galaxies are other galaxies, even older than these two.

Tags: astronomy

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