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Nebula NGC 604 Inspiral Galaxy M33

Nebula NGC 604
Spiral Galaxy M33

This nOde last updated October 24th, 2001 and is permanently morphing...
(10 K'an (Lizard) - 2 Zac (White) - 244/260 - 12.19.8.12.4)

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This is a site where new stars are being born in a spiral arm of the galaxy. Though such nebulae are common in galaxies, this one is particularly large, nearly 1,500 light-years across. The nebula is so vast it is easily seen in ground-based telescopic images.

At the heart of NGC 604 are over 200 hot stars, much more massive than our internal linkSun (15 to 60 solar masses). They heat the gaseous walls of the nebula making the gas flouresce. Their internal linklight also highlights the nebula's three-internal linkdimensional shape, like a lantern in a cavern. By studying the physical structure of a giant nebula, astronomers may determine how clusters of massive stars affect the internal linkevolution of the interstellar medium of the galaxy. The nebula also yields clues to its star formation history and will improve understanding of the starburst internal linkprocess when a galaxy undergoes a "firestorm" of star formation.

The image was taken on January 17, 1995 with Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. Separate exposures were taken in different colors of light to study the physical properties of the hot gas (17,000 degrees Fahrenheit, 10,000 degrees Kelvin).



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