Hubble spotlight on irregular galaxy IC 3583
This delicate blue group of stars—actually an irregular galaxy named IC 3583—sits some 30 million light-years away in the constellation of Virgo (The Virgin).
|IC 3583 [Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA]|
Researchers at the University of Leicester, England note there are two types of irregular galaxy. Type I's are usually single galaxies of peculiar appearance. They contain a large fraction of young stars, and show the luminous nebulae that are also visible in spiral galaxies. Type II irregulars include the group known as interacting or disrupting galaxies, in which the strange appearance is due to two or more galaxies colliding, merging or otherwise interacting gravitationally.
Something similar might be happening with IC 3583. This small galaxy is thought to be gravitationally interacting with one of its neighbors, the spiral Messier 90. Together, the duo form a pairing known as Arp 76. It's still unclear whether these flirtations are the cause of IC 3583's irregular appearance—but whatever the cause, the galaxy makes for a strikingly delicate sight in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image, glimmering in the blackness of space.
Source: NASA [December 05, 2016]