At first glance, a galaxy known as NGC 2276 looks like a typical face-on spiral, albeit a bit lopsided. But as this spectacular photo from the Hubble Space Telescope shows, the gravity of a nearby galaxy is tugging on the right side of the spiral, pulling one arm away, while interactions with hot inter-galactic gas fuel rampant starburst on the left side as indicated by the bluish-pink regions. One of those regions is believed to be home for a 50,000-solar-mass black hole. NGC 2276’s appearance has earned it a place in the aptly named Atlas of Peculiar Galaxies first published by Halton Arp in 1966.
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows star clusters encircling a galaxy, like bees buzzing around a hive. The hive in question is the edge-on lenticular galaxy NGC 5308, located just under 100 million light-years away in the constellation of Ursa Major. On 9 October 1996, one of NGC 5308’s aging stars exploded as a spectacular Type la supernova.
While truly massive stars go out in a blaze of glory, intermediate-mass stars — those between roughly one and eight times the mass of the Sun — are somewhat quieter. Such stars eventually form cosmic objects known as planetary nebulae, so named because of their vague resemblance to planets when seen through early, low-resolution telescopes.