This Hubble image of the centre of the spiral galaxy M83 shows the high rate of star formation in detail. Note that the distance from the left to the right side of this image is roughly 10000 light years. Just in case: if you plan to travel this distance by airplane at a speed of 1000 km/h you should plan almost 11 billion years for your travel from one side to the other.

There are huge areas with red emission nebulae (H II regions), lit by the very bright new-born stars inside them. Once the newly formed stars inside these emission nebulae have blown away all the remaining gas and dust around them, many clusters of these young and blue stars are revealed. These are all signs of active star formation in M83. If you also notice the gas and dust lanes all across the image you'll understand that there is still a huge amount of fresh material that can be converted into stars and planets in the next millions and billions of years.

Read more about: Emission nebula - Electromagnetic spectrum


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Southern Pinwheel Galaxy M83 Centre
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Published by Published or last modified on 2013-06-16