Central Region of Spiral Galaxy M83 from Hubble
A photogenic and favorite target for amateur astronomers, the full beauty of nearby spiral galaxy Messier 83 is unveiled in all of its glory in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope mosaic image. The vibrant magentas and blues reveal the galaxy is ablaze with star formation.
The photograph captures thousands of star clusters, hundreds of thousands of individual stars, and "ghosts" of dead stars called supernova remnants. The galactic panorama unveils a tapestry of the drama of stellar birth and death spread across 50,000 lght-years of the galactic disk.
The newest generations of stars are forming largely in clusters on the edges of the dark spiral dust lanes. These brilliant young stellar groupings, only millions of years old, produce huge amounts of ultraviolet light that is absorbed by surrounding diffuse gas clouds, causing them to glow in pinkish hydrogen light.
Gradually, the fierce stellar winds from the youngest, most massive stars blow away the gas, revealing bright blue star clusters and giving a "Swiss Cheese" appearance to the spiral arms. The populations of stars hundreds of millions of years or older appear yellow or orange by comparison because the young blue stars have already burned out.
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Please give credit for this item to:
NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)