Hubble Observes Dwarf Galaxy NGC 2366

Posted on May 11, 2012

Hubble NGC 2366

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has made detailed observations of the dwarf galaxy NGC 2366, which is home to a bright, star-forming nebula and is close enough for astronomers to discern its individual stars. The starry mist streaking across this image obtained by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the central part of the dwarf galaxy known as NGC 2366. Astronomers also classify NGC 2366 as an irregular galaxy because of its lack of well-defined structure.

You can see a much larger version of the above image from Hubble here.

The most obvious feature in this galaxy is a large nebula visible in the upper-right part of the image, an object listed just a few entries prior in the New General Catalogue as NGC 2363. A nearby yellowish swirl is notpart of the nebula. It is a spiral galaxy much further away, whose light is shining right through NGC 2366. The interconnected objects of NGC 2366 and NGC 2363 are located about 10 million light-years away in the constellation of Camelopardalis (the Giraffe).

The galaxy is home to numerous gigantic blue stars. The blue dots scattered throughout the galaxy indicate the burst of star formation that the galaxy has undergone in recent cosmic time. A new generation of these stellar titans has lit up the nebula NGC 2363. In gas-rich star-forming regions, the ultraviolet radiation from young, big, blue stars excites the hydrogen gas, making it glow.

Photo: NASA & ESA