Image of the Day: Orgy of Star Birth in Haro 11

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This image shows the monumental rate of star formation occurring in the spectacular “starburst” galaxy, Haro 11. By combining data from ESO’s Very Large Telescope (image below) and the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have created a new image of this incredibly bright, distant galaxy.

The team of astronomers from Stockholm University, Sweden, and the Geneva Observatory, Switzerland, have identified 200 separate clusters of very young, massive stars. Most of these are less than 10 million years old. Many of the clusters are so bright in infrared light that astronomers suspect that the stars are still emerging from the cloudy cocoons where they were born.


The observations have led the astronomers to conclude that Haro 11 is most likely the result of a merger between a galaxy rich in stars and a younger, gas-rich galaxy. Haro 11 produces stars at a frantic rate, converting about 20 solar masses of gas into stars every year.

The Daily Galaxy via ESO

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