This image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and shows a starburst galaxy named MCG+07-33-027. This galaxy lies some 300 million light-years away from us, and is currently experiencing an extraordinarily high rate of star formation — a starburst. 

Normal galaxies produce only a couple of new stars per year, but starburst galaxies can produce a hundred times more than that. As MCG+07-33-027 is seen face-on, the galaxy’s spiral arms and the bright star-forming regions within them are clearly visible and easy for astronomers to study.

In order to form newborn stars, the parent galaxy has to hold a large reservoir of gas, which is slowly depleted to spawn stars over time. For galaxies in a state of starburst, this intense period of star formation has to be triggered somehow — often this happens due to a collision with another galaxy. MCG+07-33-027, however, is special; while many galaxies are located within a large cluster of galaxies, MCG+07-33-027 is a field galaxy, which means it is rather isolated. Thus, the triggering of the starburst was most likely not due to a collision with a neighboring or passing galaxy and astronomers are still speculating about the cause. The bright object to the right of the galaxy is a foreground star in our own galaxy.

Object Names: MCG+07-33-027

Image credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA and N. Grogin (STScI)

Text credit: European Space Agency

Time And Space

Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.