Called I Zwicky 18, this galaxy—some 59 million light-years distant—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. 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. A companion galaxy lies just above and to the left and may be interacting with I Zwicky 18. (NASA, ESA, and A. Aloisi STScI)
Boston.com is putting up one Hubble Space Telescope picture a day to create a spectacular astronomical Advent Calendar. It's not easy for lay people to keep up in any meaningful way with the massive amount of astonishing visual information from Hubble, so it's always gratifying when someone or some site makes it easy for us. Check it out!
Mike (Thanks to Hugh Scott-Symonds)
Featured Comment by Tom: "Neat. I've printed a couple from HubbleSite. I hate to think what they cost in black ink. But it is very cool to print out a 13x19 and look at all the galaxies in the frame.
"There is also this book, which has been showing up on the shelves at Borders and Barnes & Noble and is pretty cool."