NASA telescope spots stunning natural firework display
NASA'S Hubble Space Telescope has captured a natural display of "fireworks" in a small, nearby galaxy, which the space exploration agency says resembles a July 4th (America's Independence Day) skyrocket.
A firestorm of star birth is the cause of this stunning display of colours and lights that Nasa has chanced upon through their intergalactic telescopes.
The beginning of stars is lighting up one end of the diminutive galaxy Kiso 5639, and the dwarf galaxy is shaped like a flattened pancake, but because it's tilted, this has resulted in the vision to be described as similar to a skyrocket, with a blazing head and a long, star-studded tail.
Astronomers suggest that the frenzied star birth is sparked by intergalactic gas raining on one end of the galaxy as it drifts through space.
"I think Kiso 5639 is a beautiful, up-close example of what must have been common long ago," said Vassar College lead researcher Debra Elmegreen, in Poughkeepsie, New York.
"The current thinking is that galaxies in the early universe grow from accreting gas from the surrounding neighbourhood.
"It's a stage that galaxies, including our Milky Way, must go through as they are growing up."
Observations of the early universe, such as Hubble's Ultra-Deep Field, reveal that about 10 percent of all galaxies have these elongated shapes, and are collectively called 'tadpoles.'
But studies of the nearby universe have turned up only a few of these unusual galaxies, including Kiso 5639.
The development of the nearby star-making tadpole galaxies, however, has lagged behind that of their peers, which have spent billions of years building themselves up into many of the spiral galaxies seen today.