Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2000 January 7
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NGC 4214: Star Forming Galaxy
Credit: John MacKenty (STScI) et al. & the Hubble Heritage Team (AURA/ STScI/ NASA)

Explanation: Dazzling displays of star formation abound across the face of galaxy NGC 4214, a mere 13 million light-years away in the northern constellation Canes Venatici. While this 1997 Hubble Space Telescope image shows the numerous faint, older stars of NGC 4214, the most eye-catching features are the galaxy's bright young star clusters surrounded by fluorescent gas clouds. Sculpted into bubbles and filamentary shapes by energetic explosions and stellar winds from massive cluster stars, the clouds fluoresce in the intense stellar ultraviolet radiation. The colorful spectacle of massive young star forming clusters and distinguished presence of a fainter, older stellar population indicate that NGC 4214 has experienced star formation episodes spanning billions of years.

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Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
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