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News Release 2 of 17

June 28, 2016 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2016-23

Hubble Reveals Stellar Fireworks in 'Skyrocket' Galaxy

June 28, 2016: As we celebrate the Fourth of July by watching dazzling fireworks shows, another kind of fireworks display is taking place in a small, nearby galaxy.

A stellar fireworks show is lighting up one end of the diminutive galaxy Kiso 5639. The dwarf galaxy is shaped like a flattened pancake, but because it is tilted edge-on, it resembles a skyrocket, with a brilliant blazing head and a long, star-studded tail. Kiso 5639 is a rare, nearby example of elongated galaxies seen in abundance in the early universe. Astronomers suggest that the frenzied star birth is sparked by intergalactic gas raining on one end of the galaxy as it drifts through space.

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Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. Elmegreen (Vassar College), B. Elmegreen (IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center), J. Sánchez Almeida, C. Muñoz-Tuñón, and M. Filho (Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias), J. Mendez-Abreu (University of St. Andrews), J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin-Madison), M. Rafelski (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center), and D. Ceverino (Center for Astronomy at Heidelberg University)