|If you could speed up time and watch this galaxy evolve- the center of NGC 3079 would bubble with hot gas not unlike the shallow lava pits of Hawaii. A burst of star formation is creating tremendous stellar winds and accellerating particles and gas to many thousands of light years above (and beneath) the plane of the galaxy. These filaments of gas glow strongly in the emission given off by excited hydrogen atoms. Click on the image to the left to see what was barely detected in this ground-based image. The Hubble Space Telescope image (below) obviously shows this feature with much more clarity. Interestingly, this gas will not reach escape velocity and will rain back down onto the plane of the galaxy and potentially trigger more star formation! Otherwise NGC 3079 is an colorful spiral galaxy viewed edge-on at a distance of 50 million light years away.|
|L R G B color production was used to create this image.||
Minimum credit line: Jeff Hapeman/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF
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