Hubble Unveils Stunning Star Birth in M83

Article written: 5 Nov , 2009
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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It appears Hubble’s new Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) is working. And how! The new camera installed during Servicing Mission 4 in May has delivered the most detailed view of star birth in the graceful, curving arms of the nearby spiral galaxy M83. Nicknamed the Southern Pinwheel, M83 is undergoing more rapid star formation than our own Milky Way galaxy, especially in its nucleus. The sharp “eye” of WFC3 has captured hundreds of young star clusters, ancient swarms of globular star clusters, and hundreds of thousands of individual stars, mostly blue supergiants and red supergiants.

M83 from ESO and Hubble. Credit for Hubble Image: NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute), M. Dopita (Australian National University), and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee

M83 from ESO and Hubble. Credit for Hubble Image: NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute), M. Dopita (Australian National University), and the Wide Field Camera 3 Science Oversight Committee

The image at right is Hubble’s close-up view of the myriad stars near the galaxy’s core, the bright whitish region at far right. An image of the entire galaxy, taken by the European Southern Observatory’s Wide Field Imager on the ESO/MPG 2.2-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile, is shown at left. The white box outlines Hubble’s view.

WFC3’s broad wavelength range, from ultraviolet to near-infrared, reveals stars at different stages of evolution, allowing astronomers to dissect the galaxy’s star-formation history.

Now that’s the birth of a star!

See more views of M83 and a video at the HubbleSite



4 Responses

  1. Jon Hanford says

    Sorta reminds me of a more massive, slightly younger version of the Milky Way, especially with its arms alight with starforming HII regions and its prominent bar. And zooming in on the starburst nucleus (in the 32MB TIFF) is nothing short of astonishing. In fact, its just fun to roam along any of the spiral arms checking out clusters, nebulae and copious amounts of dust along the way.

    Also great to see Hubble’s equipment functioning on all cylinders! The best is surely yet to come 🙂

  2. Don Alexander says

    It’s… beautiful! :O

  3. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    It looks like lots of Orion nebula arrayed like Rosettas.

    LC

  4. Astrofiend says

    Oh baby! WFC3 is gonna be great…

    What a stunning image. Check the friggin’ detail in those emission regions!

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