NGC 3351: a galaxy where stars are born ... and die

A trio of humanity's most powerful telescopes have observed spiral galaxy NGC 3351 and the star formation occurring within.

Published: October 23, 2019 at 2:24 pm
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NGC 3351. Credit: ESO/R Leaman/D Gadotti/K Sandstrom/D Calzetti

As well as hosting a busy stellar nursery, barred spiral galaxy NGC 3351 is also a place where massive stars die in dramatic style – the most recent being SN 2012aw in March 2016.


The latest observations of NGC 3351, which includes the image shown here, have also shown stellar feedback in action.

Stellar feedback is the process of redistributing energy into the interstellar medium (the space between the stars).

In NGC 3351, star formation is occurring in the ring around the galaxy nucleus at such a violent rate that massive bubbles of hot gas can be seen as they’re ejected.

This ejected gas can then contribute to star formation within the galaxy.

Image stats:

Observatories: Atacama Large Millimeter Array, Hubble Space Telescope, Very Large Telescope

Release date: 2 September 2019


Credit: ESO/R Leaman/D Gadotti/K Sandstrom/D Calzetti


Before going freelance, Rob spent almost four years on staff at BBC Science Focus magazine subediting news, features and reviews. He's now a freelance journalist and has written about everything from electric cars to decomposing bodies… although space and speed are what fascinate him most.


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