A close-up view from Hubble shows that NGC 253 is ablaze with the light from thousands of young, blue stars. The spiral galaxy is undergoing intense star formation. This image, taken with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys, reveals colors and differing intensities of individual stars as well dark filaments of dust and gas interstellar dust intersperced among the stars. NGC 253 is the dominant galaxy in the Sculptor Group of galaxies and resides about 13 million light-years from Earth.
This galaxy is part of a detailed survey called the ACS Nearby Galaxy Survey Treasury program (ANGST). The natural-color images were constructed using Hubble observations taken in infrared, visible, and blue light. Data from the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile were used to fill in small gaps in the Hubble image of NGC 253.
Credit for ground-based data: T. Rector (University of Alaska Anchorage), T. Abbott, and NOAO/AURA/NSF