Nestled within this field of bright foreground stars lies ESO 495-21, a tiny galaxy with a big heart. While barely 3000 light-years across, a fraction of the size of the Milky Way, it is furiously forming huge numbers of stars.
There are also indicators for a supermassive black hole in its centre – an unusual component for a galaxy of its size.
Astronomers have studied bursts of activity within ESO 495-21 several times using the European Space Agency’s Hubble Space Telescope. This allows them to explore the galaxy’s multiple super star clusters – very dense regions only a few million years old and packed with massive stars.
Investigating the earliest stages of their evolution, they hope, will help us understand how massive stars form and change throughout the universe.
Curated content from the editorial staff at Cosmos Magazine.
Read science facts, not fiction...
There’s never been a more important time to explain the facts, cherish evidence-based knowledge and to showcase the latest scientific, technological and engineering breakthroughs. Cosmos is published by The Royal Institution of Australia, a charity dedicated to connecting people with the world of science. Financial contributions, however big or small, help us provide access to trusted science information at a time when the world needs it most. Please support us by making a donation or purchasing a subscription today.