Hubble Reveals Brilliant Birthplace of New Stars

By  //  August 19, 2013

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H II Regions Contain Star Clouds

ABOVE VIDEO: Astronomers use Hubble images of the giant star cluster Omega Centauri to predict where the stars will be in a decade or more. The cluster’s 10 million stars, among the first stars to form in the universe, are in constant motion. Studying their movements helps scientists to understand the formation of the universe. 

BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANVERAL, FLORIDA – The Hubble Space Telescope has done it again, this time capturing stunning images of the birthplace of stars in a distant galaxy.

The brilliant birth of numerous stars in the Galaxy NGC 4700 is shown in an image captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. (Image courtesy NASA/ESA)

Earlier this summer Hubble, a joint project of NASA and the European Space Agency, gave astronomers a series of brilliant images of Galaxy NGC 4700, an edge on galaxy about 50 million light years from Earth.

H II Regions

The images show the galaxy contains numerous bright pinkish clouds known as H II regions and were difficult to obtain without using the Hubble Space Telescope because Galaxy NGC 4700 is moving away from Earth at the rate of about 1400 km per second because of the expansion of the Universe.

H II regions are areas where bright intense ultraviolet light emitted from new stars cause hydrogen gas to glow.

The Hubble Space Telescope was carried into orbit and released from Space Shuttle Discovery in April 1990. (Image courtesy of NASA/ESA)

Molecular Clouds

The H II regions indicate the presence of enormous molecular clouds that give rise to hot young stars that emit ionized gases.

French astronomer Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc is credited with discovering H II regions for the first time in the Orion Nebula in 1610.

Over the centuries, many other H II regions have been located and are important to our understanding of the cosmos and how stars are formed.

The NGC 4700 Galaxy was first reported by the British astronomer William Herschel in 1786.

It’s classified as a barred spiral galaxy similar to the Milky Way and is in the Virgo Constellation.