M83, also known as the Southern Pinwheel Galaxy, is one of the largest and, at a distance of about 15 million light years, one of the nearest barred spirals to the Milky Way. The “grand design” galaxy has hosted multiple supernova blasts and appears to have a double core. Discovered in February 1752 by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille, M83 was added to Charles Messier’s catalogue in 1781. The Hubble Space Telescope captured a spectacular view of M83 in 2014. A zoomed-in view shows countless stars in the galaxy’s outskirts embedded in rich clouds of gas and dust.
In this new image of the nebula Messier 78, young stars cast a bluish pall over their surroundings, while red fledgling stars peer out from their cocoons of cosmic dust. ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA) sees near-infrared light, which passes right through dust, permitting astronomers to probe deep into the heart of the stellar environment.
The fuzzy collection of stars seen in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image forms an intriguing dwarf galaxy named LEDA 677373, located about 14 million light-years away from us in the constellation Centaurus. This particular dwarf galaxy contains a plentiful reservoir of gas from which it could form stars, but it stubbornly refuses to do so. Why?