These stunning new images of nearby galaxies will blow your mind

The European Southern Observatory and ALMA’s Very Large Telescope were used to capture this image of the “great spiral galaxy” NGC 4254.

ESO / ALMA (ESO / NAOJ / NRAO) / PHANGS

Sometimes at CNET Science we go too deep to explain the wonders of the universe – The wonderful impossibility of black holesAnd the Violent collisions of neutron starsAnd the Oscillation in the orbit of the moon Sometimes we just stare at images of distant galaxies and sit in stunned silence.

This is one of the last times.

On Friday, European Southern Observatory New photos published Among the nearby galaxies captured by two ground-based telescopes in Chile, the “Very Large Telescope” and the Atacama Large Millimeter / Submillimeter Array, and NASA’s Hubble Telescope (Currently stuck due to an unfortunate mishap). The observatory describes the images as “cosmic fireworks,” but let’s stop and think about these fireworks because they are so much more.

Every little spot of light is a little star. There are thousands upon thousands of them in every picture, along with ethereal regions of gas – the gas that leads to still young stoves that burn for billions of years.

Far from being just pretty pictures, the observations help astronomers get a better understanding of how stars are formed and evolved. Usually gas and dust collect and clump together due to gravity. This cosmic cloud sees atoms collide with one another, violently collide, until the fusion reactions begin to propel the star and begin its decades-long combustion. ESO images give an insight into these different phases of a star’s life.

“We can directly observe the gas that creates stars, see the same young stars and follow their evolution through different stages,” said Eric Emselem, an astronomer at ESO in Germany, in a press release.

Five different galaxies were observed with the MUSE instrument on the Very Large Telescope.

ESO / PHANGS

Astronomers focused on nearby galaxies and used the Very Large Telescope to photograph gas and young stars. Then they overlaid ALMA images (which are good for capturing gas clouds) to create the amazing “fireworks”. It could also help researchers unravel more of the mysteries of the star birth.

While they have a good grip on the birth process, a variety of images of these nearby galaxies allow for more specific questions to be asked. For example, in which places within a galaxy could we expect a star to form – and why?

The Illustrated galaxy catalog It’s just getting bigger and we are only just beginning to understand how diverse these outstanding kindergartens are. This will be aided by new instruments, including the heavily lagged James Webb Space Telescope, which will be able to image the universe in unprecedented detail. On Earth, ESO plans to put the Very Large Telescope online later this decade.

So while astronomers are busy producing images, let’s just take a look at the fruits of their labor – the hardest part is choosing which galaxy you like best.

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