Image: Hubble sees newborn stars in arms of a spiral galaxy

Image: Hubble sees newborn stars in arms of a spiral galaxy

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Like firecrackers lighting up the sky on New Year’s Eve, the
majestic spiral arms of NGC 5559 are alight with new stars
being born. NGC 5559 is a spiral galaxy, with spiral arms
filled with gas and dust sweeping out around the bright
galactic bulge. These arms are a rich environment for star
formation, dotted with a festive array of colors including
the newborn stars glowing blue as a result of their immensely
high temperatures.

NGC 5559 was discovered by astronomer William Herschel in 1785
and lies approximately 240 million light-years away in the
northern constellation of Boötes (the herdsman)

In 2001, a calcium-rich supernova called 2001co was observed in
NGC 5559. Calcium-rich supernovae are described as
“fast-and-faint,” as they’re less luminous than other types of
supernovae and also evolve more rapidly, to reveal spectra
dominated by strong calcium lines. 2001co occurred within the
disk of NGC 5559 near star-forming regions, but calcium-rich
supernovae are often observed at large distances from the
nearest galaxy, raising curious questions about their
progenitors.

Explore further:
Hubble
spots a barred lynx spiral

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