NEW IMAGES FROM HUBBLE RELEASED
Meet your cosmic neighbours: images assembled by an international team of researchers using data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope show the closest galaxies to Earth in unprecedented detail.
Dubbed the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the project combined data from observations in visible and UV light of 50 star-forming spiral and dwarf galaxies in the local Universe, ranging from 11 to 58 million lightyears away. The resulting catalogue will provide researchers with a large and extensive resource for understanding the complexities of star formation and galaxy evolution, the team said.
“Much of the light we get from the Universe comes from stars, and yet we still don’t understand many aspects of how stars form,” said team member Elena Sabbi of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. “This is even key to our existence – we know life wouldn’t be here if we didn’t have a star around.”
The team members chose the galaxies based on their mass, star-formation rate, and abundance of elements that are heavier than hydrogen and helium. The resulting catalogue contains around 8,000 star clusters ranging from 1 to 500 million years old, and around 39 million stars ranging from 1 million to several billion years old.
“By seeing galaxies in very fine detail – the star clusters – while also showing the connection to the larger structures, we are trying to identify the physical parameters underlying this ordering of stellar populations within galaxies,” said survey leader Daniela Calzetti of the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. “Getting the final link between gas and star formation is key for understanding galaxy evolution.” See the images at legus.stsci.edu
These new images of our closest galaxies could help explain how stars form