Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day we feature a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

October 1, 1995

Central Galactic Star Bursts
Credit: NASA, HST, WFPC 2, J. Gallagher, (U. Wisconsin-Madison)

Explanation: The pictured core of the galaxy NGC 253 shows an exceptionally high rate of star formation. In the center are some of the densest knots of stars ever found, surrounded by glowing gas and dust lanes. Galaxies where such high star formation rates are seen are called "starburst" galaxies. The unusual color is a combination of the light emitted from the young, hot, blue stars and their associated emission and reflection nebulae.

Tomorrow's picture: Phobos: Doomed Moon of Mars

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (GMU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA).
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