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Friday, February 18, 2011

Hubble shoots Spiral NGC 2841 with the new WFC3

Hubble shoots Spiral NGC 2841 with the new Wide Field Camera 3
Click on the image for full resolution (7.2 MB)

This new image of spiral galaxy NGC 2841 was taken by NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope's newest instrument, the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). Star formation is one of the most important processes in shaping the Universe; it plays a pivotal role in the evolution of galaxies and it is also in the earliest stages of star formation that planetary systems first appear. Yet there is still much that astronomers don’t understand, such as how do the properties of stellar nurseries vary according to the composition and density of gas present, and what triggers star formation in the first place? The driving force behind star formation is particularly unclear for a type of galaxy called a flocculent spiral, such as NGC 2841 shown here, which features short spiral arms rather than prominent and well-defined galactic limbs.
The full resolution image weighs 7.2 MB, so please be patient when downloading!
Credit: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
Acknowledgment: M. Crockett and S. Kaviraj (Oxford University, UK), R. O'Connell (University of Virginia), B. Whitmore (STScI) and the WFC3 Scientific Oversight Committee.

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