A galaxy in bloom
Hydrogen gas makes NGC 972 shine bright.
This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows bright pockets of star formation blooming like roses in a spiral galaxy named NGC 972.
The orange-pink glow is created as hydrogen gas reacts to the intense light streaming outwards from nearby newborn stars; these bright patches can be seen here amid dark, tangled streams of cosmic dust.
German-British astronomer William Herschel is credited with the discovery of NGC 972 in 1784. Astronomers have since measured its distance, finding it to be just under 70 million light-years.