A strange cosmic explosion was captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. In a new image taken by the observatory, dwarf galaxy NGC 1705 can be seen shimmering against a background of shimmering light and among red clouds.
Located in the constellation Pictor, 17 million light-years from Earth, the small galaxy has been described by the European Space Agency (ESA) as a “cosmic monster”. That’s because it’s small, irregular in shape, and recently experienced an unusual ‘star birth explosion’, which astronomers call a ‘starburst’.
The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a new image of the dwarf galaxy NGC 1705. Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, R. Chandar
Irregular dwarf galaxies tend to contain few elements other than hydrogen or helium, and are considered similar to the early galaxies in the universe.
Galaxy NGC 1705 was actually seen by the Hubble telescope in 1999
The data shown in the image comes from a series of observations designed to reveal the interaction between stars, star clusters, and ionized gas in nearby galaxies.
By observing a specific wavelength of light known as H-alpha with Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, astronomers set out to discover thousands of emission nebulae—regions created when hot young stars bathe their surrounding gas clouds in ultraviolet light, causing their its glow.
This isn’t the first time Hubble has captured NGC 1705. In 1999, astronomers examined the galactic core using Hubble’s working camera at the time, the Wide Field Camera 2, an instrument that was replaced by the Wide Field Camera 3.
Replaced during Hubble’s fifth and final head-to-head mission in 2009, the new instrument, which was flown to the observatory via NASA’s Space Shuttle, has provided a richer and more detailed image of NGC 1705 than its predecessor. One. 1. Previous note.
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