Zoom into barred spiral galaxy M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel, located 15 million light-years away. Pan across billions of stars in the galaxy at various stages of life spread across 50,000 light-years.
Spiral galaxy M83 is located in the constellation Hydra. A “starburst” galaxy, M83 is considerably smaller than our own galaxy but is producing stars at a much faster rate. The pink clouds of hydrogen gas that dot the galaxy’s spiral arms are the nurseries where new stars are being born. The blue, grainy clumps mixed in with these star-forming regions are clusters of hot, young stars that have blown away the surrounding gas with their fierce ultraviolet radiation. Some of these young stars are only about a million years old. The yellow glow closer to the center of the galaxy comes from these more mature stars that have lived for 100 million years or more.
Publication: January 9, 2014