Release 86 of 105

A Bright Ring of Star Birth around a Galaxy's Core

Release date: Jun 11, 1998 12:00 AM (EDT)

This Hubble telescope snapshot reveals clusters of infant stars that formed in a ring around the core of the barred-spiral galaxy NGC 4314. This stellar nursery, whose inhabitants were created within the past 5 million years, is the only place in the entire galaxy where new stars are being born.

This close-up view also illustrates other interesting details in the galaxy's core: dust lanes, a smaller bar of stars, dust and gas embedded in the stellar ring, and an extra pair of spiral arms packed with young stars. These details make the center resemble a miniature version of a spiral galaxy. The black-and-white image on the left, taken by a ground-based telescope, shows the entire galaxy.