A galaxy creating stars
30 million years ago, stars were forming in galaxy ESO 486-21.
The image above, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows a galaxy known as ESO 486-21. It’s a somewhat irregular spiral galaxy about 30 million light-years away.
ESO 486-21 is (or was, 30 million years ago when this light set out on its journey across the universe) also an active star-forming galaxy. The stars form when clouds of dust and gas (seen here in pink) fall in on themselves under the force of gravity.
Hubble took the photo as part of a survey of 50 relatively nearby galaxies in which stars are currently forming. The Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS) covers a variety of galaxies with different shapes, masses and rates of star formation, and it will help astronomers to understand better how stars form and evolve.