News Release Archive:

News Release 999 of 1048

June 2, 1992 12:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-1992-16

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope Uncovers a Starburst Galaxy


Image: The Core of Peculiar Galaxy Arp 220 (Ground-based vs. Hubble)

The Core of Peculiar Galaxy Arp 220 (Ground-based vs. Hubble)STScI-PRC1992-16b

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A ground-based telescopic photograph of the peculiar galaxy Arp 220 (image taken by K. Borne, H. Levison, and R. Lucas at USNO Flagstaff Station, Arizona) shows a curious double-lobed structure. This structure was first interpreted as two galaxies merging together, until subsequent observations with highly sensitive CCD detectors revealed a dust lane down the center which made the galaxy appear double lobed.

A "true-color" image of the central pan of the Arp 220 taken with the WFPC on the Hubble Space Telescope. HST reveals a new complex structure within one arc second of the nucleus. HST reveals a new class of object at the core: gigantic young star clusters which are ten times larger than clusters previously observed. They were probably produced by the collision of two spiral galaxies. Stars are produced at a furious rate from the raw dust and gas supplied by the collision.

Astronomers have never before seen such a "starburst galaxy" so close-up. The core of Arp 220 promises to be a unique laboratory for studying the late evolution of massive stars.

Object Name: Arp 220

Image Type: Astronomical/Annotated

Credit: E. Shaya, D. Dowling/U. of Maryland, the WFPC Team, and NASA


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