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News Release Archive:

News Release 217 of 950

November 5, 2009 09:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-29

Hubble Image Showcases Star Birth in M83, the Southern Pinwheel

A Hubble Heritage Release

November 5, 2009: The spectacular new camera installed on NASA's Hubble Space Telescope during Servicing Mission 4 in May has delivered the most detailed view of star birth in the graceful, curving arms of the nearby spiral galaxy M83.

Nicknamed the Southern Pinwheel, M83 is undergoing more rapid star formation than our own Milky Way galaxy, especially in its nucleus. The sharp "eye" of the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) has captured hundreds of young star clusters, ancient swarms of globular star clusters, and hundreds of thousands of individual stars, mostly blue supergiants and red supergiants. The image at right, taken in August 2009, is Hubble's close-up view of the myriad stars near the galaxy's core, the bright whitish region at far right. An image of the entire galaxy, taken by the European Southern Observatory's Wide Field Imager on the ESO/MPG 2.2-meter telescope at La Silla, Chile, is shown at left. The white box outlines Hubble's view.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), the WFC3 Science Oversight Committee, and ESO