Youthful-looking galaxy may be an adult

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope quashed the possibility that what was previously believed to be a toddler galaxy in the nearby universe may actually be considered an adult. Called I Zwicky 18, this galaxy has a youthful appearance that resembles galaxies typically found only in the early universe. Hubble has now found faint, older stars within this galaxy, suggesting that the galaxy may have formed at the same time as most other galaxies.

Hubble data also allowed astronomers for the first time to identify Cepheid variable stars in I Zwicky 18, marked by the red circles. These flashing stellar mile-markers were used to determine that I Zwicky 18 is 59 million light-years from Earth, almost 10 million light-years more distant than previously believed.

I Zwicky 18 is classified as a dwarf irregular galaxy and is much smaller than our Milky Way Galaxy. The concentrated bluish-white knots embedded in the heart of the galaxy are two major starburst regions where stars are forming at a furious rate. The wispy blue filaments surrounding the central starburst regions are bubbles of gas that have been blown away by stellar winds and supernovae explosions from a previous generation of hot, young stars. This gas is now heated by intense ultraviolet radiation unleashed by hot, young stars.

Besides the bluish-white young stars, white-reddish stars also are visible in both I Zwicky 18 and its companion. These stars may be as old as 10 billion years. The reddish extended objects surrounding I Zwicky 18 and its companion are ancient, fully formed galaxies of different shapes that are much farther away.

Hubble data also allowed astronomers for the first time to identify Cepheid variable stars in I Zwicky 18. These flashing stellar mile-markers were used to determine that I Zwicky 18 is 59 million light-years from Earth, almost 10 million light-years more distant than previously believed.

The observations of I Zwicky 18 were taken in 2005 and 2006 with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys. Astronomers made this image by combining observations taken with blue and red filters.

The science team consists of Alessandra Aloisi and Marco Sirianni of the European Space Agency and Space Telescope Science Institute; Francesca Annibali, Jennifer Mack, and Roeland van der Marel of the Space Telescope Science Institute; Abhijit Saha of the National Optical Astronomy Observatories; and Gisella Clementini, Rodrigo Contreras, Giuliana Fiorentino, Marcella Marconi, Ilaria Musella, and Monica Tosi of the Italian National Astrophysics Institutes in Bologna and Naples.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, and A. Aloisi (European Space Agency and Space Telescope Science Institute)

About the Image

NASA caption
Id:heic0716b
Type:Observation
Release date:16 October 2007, 16:00
Related releases:heic0716
Size:661 x 740 px

About the Object

Name:I Zw 18
Type:• Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Irregular
• Local Universe : Galaxy : Size : Dwarf
• X - Galaxies Images/Videos
Distance:60 million light years

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
660 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

Image Formats

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Screensize JPEG
440.6 KB

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