Jet Propulsion Laboratory Home Page
Jet Propulsion Laboratory Website National Aeronautics and Space Administration Website
JPL Home Page Earth Solar System Stars and Galaxies Technology Search
Images and Videos News Missions Events Kids Education Scientists and Engineers About JPL
Upper-left corner   Upper-right corner
  NEWS
Dot PRESS RELEASES

Dot PRESS KITS

Dot FACT SHEETS

Dot FEATURES

Dot PROFILES

Dot IMAGES / VIDEOS

Dot MEDIA VISITS

Dot MEDIA CONTACTS

Dot EMPLOYEE NEWSPAPER

 
2001 News Releases

Burst of Star Formation Drives Galactic Bubble
August 16, 2001

Galaxy NGC 3079
Galaxy NGC 3079
Go to images

      A lumpy bubble of hot gas rises from a cauldron of glowing matter in a distant galaxy, as seen by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.

      The new images, taken by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, are online at http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/2001/28 and http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/wfpc. The camera was designed and built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

      Galaxy NGC 3079, located 50 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major, has a huge bubble in the center of its disc, as seen in the image on the left. The smaller photo at right shows a close-up of the bubble. The two white dots are stars.

      Astronomers suspect the bubble is being blown by "winds," or high-speed streams of particles, released during a burst of star formation. The bubble's lumpy surface has four columns of gaseous filaments towering above the galaxy's disc. The filaments whirl around in a vortex and are expelled into space. Eventually, this gas will rain down on the disc and may collide with gas clouds, compress them and form a new generation of stars.

      Theoretical models indicate the bubble formed when winds from hot stars mixed with small bubbles of hot gas from supernova explosions. Radio telescope observations indicate those processes are still active. Eventually, the hot stars will die, and the bubble's energy source will fade away.

      The images, taken in 1998, show glowing gas as red and starlight as blue/green. Results appear in the July 1, 2001 issue of the Astrophysical Journal. More information about the Hubble Space Telescope is at http://www.stsci.edu. More information about the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 is at http://wfpc2.jpl.nasa.gov.

      The Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md., manages space operations for Hubble for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, D.C. The institute is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md. The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

     


Contacts: JPL/Jane Platt (818) 354-0880
     Space Telescope Institute/Donna Weaver (410) 338-4493

2001-170

Bottom-left corner   Bottom-right corner  

Privacy / Copyright FAQ Feedback Site Map