Astronomy Picture of the Day: 3/16/13 – NGC 5477

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Hi ho! Hi ho! It’s off to work we go! Except, instead of the dwarfs seen in the world of Middle Earth or Snow White, this is the kind of dwarf seen scattered throughout the universe. Meet NGC 5477, one of the dwarf galaxies seen in the constellation Ursa Major. This particular galaxy is located about 20-million light-years from Earth and is part of the M101 Group of galaxies (named for Messier 101 – also known as the Pinwheel Galaxy – which is the brightest and most recognizable member of the group).

A dwarf galaxy, as you can imagine, is a small galaxy consisting of only a few billion stars. In the case of NGC 5477 there is furious star-forming action going on. In this particular image taken by Hubble, these regions appear as either clouds of blue or white.

In addition, NGC 5477 is accompanied by a host of background galaxies and I only see one foreground star.

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