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(IAAC) Fwd: A Galaxy [NGC 3310] Blazes With Star Formation



This bright little galaxy is just off the SW corner of the Big Dipper's
Bowl. Here are three well done observing logs for it. Maybe others have
a log they'd like to share of this - maybe even containing observations
of the irregular ring structure, or mottling from star forming regions?
  http://www.visualdeepsky.org/netastrocatalog/msg01898.html
  http://www.visualdeepsky.org/netastrocatalog/msg02056.html
  http://www.visualdeepsky.org/netastrocatalog/msg02209.html
(Unfortunately, we're in the wrong time of year, or I would love to go
out and log 3310 myself! If only I could remember it come Spring... :>]
Clear skies!
Lew Gramer
------- Forwarded Message
From: Ron Baalke <baalke@zagami.jpl.nasa.gov>
Subject: A Galaxy Blazes With Star Formation
To: astro-l@uwwvax.uww.edu (Astronomy List)
Date: Thu, 6 Sep 2001 14:40:38 -0700 (PDT)
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Contact:  JPL/Jane Platt  (818) 354-0880
Space Telescope Science Institute/Ray Villard (410) 338-4514
IMAGE ADVISORY                              September 6, 2001
A GALAXY BLAZES WITH STAR FORMATION
     Scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope are 
studying the colors of star clusters to determine the age and 
history of starburst galaxies, a technique somewhat similar to 
the process of learning the age of a tree by counting its 
rings.
     This month's Hubble Heritage image showcases the galaxy 
NGC 3310.  It is one of several starburst galaxies, which are 
hotbeds of star formation, being studied by Dr. Gerhardt 
Meurer and a team of scientists at Johns Hopkins University, 
Laurel, Md.
     The picture, taken by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary 
Camera 2, is online 
at http://heritage.stsci.edu and 
http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/pr/2001/26 and 
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/wfpc .  The camera was designed 
and built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, 
Calif.
     Most galaxies form new stars at a fairly slow rate, but 
starburst galaxies blaze with extremely active star formation.  
Measuring the clusters' colors yields information about 
stellar temperatures. Since young stars are blue and older 
stars redder, the colors relate to their ages. 
     NGC 3310 is forming clusters of new stars at a prodigious 
rate.  The new image shows several hundred star clusters, 
visible as the bright blue, diffuse objects that trace the 
galaxy's spiral arms. Each of these star clusters represents 
the formation of up to about a million stars, a process that 
takes less than 100,000 years. In addition, hundreds of 
individual young, luminous stars can be seen throughout the 
galaxy.
     The star clusters become redder with age as the most 
massive and bluest stars exhaust their fuel and burn out. 
Measurements in this image of the wide range of cluster colors 
show their ages range between about one million and more than 
one hundred million years. This suggests that the starburst 
"turned on" more than 100 million years ago.  It may have been 
triggered when NGC 3310 collided with a companion galaxy.
     These observations may change astronomers' view of 
starbursts. Starbursts were once thought to be brief episodes, 
resulting from catastrophic events like a galactic collision. 
However, the wide range of cluster ages in NGC 3310 suggests 
that, once triggered, the starbursting can continue for a long 
time.
     Located in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major, 
NGC 3310 is about 59 million light years from Earth.  The 
image is based on observations made by the Wide Field and 
Planetary Camera 2 in March 1997 and September 2000. The 
Hubble Heritage Team created the color rendition of the 
combined images.
     The Space Telescope Science Institute is operated by the 
Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., 
for NASA, under contract with the Goddard Space Flight Center, 
Greenbelt, Md.  The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of 
international cooperation between NASA and the European Space
Agency.  JPL is a division of the California Institute of 
Technology in Pasadena.
     Additional information about the Hubble Space Telescope 
is available at http://hubble.stsci.edu.  More information 
about the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 is available at 
http://wfpc2.jpl.nasa.gov 
     Image Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA) 
Acknowledgment:  G.R. Meurer and T.M. Heckman (JHU), and C. 
Leitherer, J. Harris and D. Calzetti (STScI), M. Sirianni 
(JHU)
                        #####
------- End of Forwarded Message
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