This is the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope’s astonishing view of a dwarf galaxy known as NGC 1140, which lies 60 million light-years away. It has an irregular form because it’s undergoing what is known as a starburst. Despite being almost ten times smaller than the Milky Way it is creating stars at about the same rate, with the equivalent of one star the size of the Sun being created per year. This is clearly visible in the image, which shows the galaxy illuminated by bright, blue-white, young stars.
Galaxies like NGC 1140 — containing large amounts of primordial gas with way fewer elements heavier than hydrogen and helium than present in our Sun — are of particular interest to astronomers. Their composition makes them similar to the intensely star-forming galaxies in the early Universe. And these early Universe galaxies were the building blocks of present-day large galaxies like our galaxy, the Milky Way. But, as they are so far away these early Universe galaxies are harder to study so these closer starbursting galaxies are a good substitute for learning more about galaxy evolution.