Dec 10

Recent birth of baby stars in old galaxy

Source: HubbleSite News Release STScI-2010-38

A galaxy thought to be over the hill is apparently still hard at work creating baby stars, a new study finds. Elliptical galaxies were once thought to be aging star cities whose star-making heyday was billions of years ago. But new observations with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are helping to show that elliptical galaxies still have some youthful vigor left, thanks to encounters with smaller galaxies.

Hubble photo of the elliptical galaxy NGC 4150, once thought to be over the hill, but now revealed to be still forming new stars. Credit: NASA, ESA, R.M. Crockett (University of Oxford, U.K.), S. Kaviraj (Imperial College London and University of Oxford, U.K.), J. Silk (University of Oxford), M. Mutchler (Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia, Charlottesville), and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee.

Photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope show the core of an elliptical galaxy known as NGC 4150,  which was thought to be beyond its fertile years for star formation, awash in streamers of dust, gas and clumps of young, blue stars that are significantly less than 1 billion years old. (read more)

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