The Hubble Space Telescope captures a deep view of stars in the Milky Way’s central bulge, helping astronomers understand a dynamic environment where stars rich in heavier elements orbit the core faster than older stars that are deficient in such elements. The image is part of two on-going surveys to learn more about the galaxy’s structure and evolution.
A riot of colour and light dances through this peculiarly shaped galaxy, NGC 5256. Its smoke-like plumes are flung out in all directions and the bright core illuminates the chaotic regions of gas and dust swirling through the galaxy’s centre. Its odd structure is due to the fact that this is not one galaxy, but two — in the process of a galactic collision.
This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the Cosmic Snake, a distant galaxy peppered with clumpy regions of intense star formation that appear warped by the effect of gravitational lensing. This giant arc-like galaxy is actually behind the huge galaxy cluster MACSJ1206.2-0847, but thanks to the cluster’s gravity, we can see it from Earth.