The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced a spectacular image of the starburst spiral galaxy NGC 1792.
This Hubble image shows NGC 1792, a spiral galaxy 36.4 million light-years away in the southern constellation of Columba. The vast swathes of tell-tale blue seen throughout NGC 1792 indicate areas that are full of young, hot stars, and it is in the shades of orange, seen nearer the center that the older, cooler stars reside. The color image is made up of observations from Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) in the ultraviolet, near-infrared, and optical parts of the spectrum. It is based on data obtained through five filters. The color results from assigning different hues to each monochromatic image associated with an individual filter. Image credit: Hubble / ESA / NASA / J. Lee / Leo Shatz.
Also known as AGC 24019 or LEDA 16709, this galaxy was discovered by the Scottish astronomer James Dunlop on October 4, 1826.
NGC 1792’s appearance is quite chaotic, due to the patchy distribution of dust throughout its disk.
The galaxy is very rich in neutral hydrogen gas and is rapidly forming new stars.
It is characterized by unusually luminous far-infrared radiation, due to dust heated by young stars.
“NGC 1792 is both a spiral galaxy, and a starburst galaxy,” Hubble astronomers said.
“Within starburst galaxies, stars are forming at comparatively exorbitant rates. The rate of star formation can be more than 10 times faster in a starburst galaxy than in the Milky Way.”
“When galaxies have a large reservoir of gas, like NGC 1792, these short lived starburst phases can be sparked by galactic events such as mergers and tidal interactions.”
“One might think that these starburst galaxies would easily consume all of their gas in a large forming event,” the researchers added.
“However, supernova explosions and intense stellar winds produced in these powerful starbursts can inject energy into the gas and disperse it.”
“This halts the star formation before it can completely deplete the galaxy of all its fuel.”
“We are actively working to understanding this complex interplay between the dynamic that drive and quench these fierce bursts of star formation.”