A bluish-white spiral galaxy hangs delicately in the cold vacuum of space. Like snowflakes, no two galaxies are exactly alike. Known as NGC 1376, this snowflake-shaped beauty has features that make it a one of a kind. Bright blue knots of glowing gas highlight regions of active star formation. Concentrated along the spiral arms, these areas of star formation show an excess of light at ultraviolet wavelengths for they contain brilliant clusters of hot, newborn stars that are emitting UV light. The less intense, red areas near the core and between the arms consist mainly of older stars. The reddish dust lanes are colder, denser regions where interstellar clouds may collapse to form new stars. Intermingled between the spiral arms are a sprinkling of reddish background galaxies.
NGC 1376 – click for 800×542 image
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