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‘Bubble-Blowing’ Galaxy Photographed

September 30, 2011 by  

PARIS, Sept. 29 (UPI) — A distant galaxy that appears to be blowing bubbles has been captured in images from the Hubble Space Telescope, European astronomers said.

The galaxy — dubbed Holmberg II — features intricate glowing shells of gas created by the energetic lifecycles of many generations of stars, a release from the European Space Agency said Thursday.

Holmberg II has both dense star-forming regions and extensive barren areas with less material stretching across thousands of light years.

It has neither the spiral arms typical of galaxies like the Milky Way nor the dense nucleus of an elliptical galaxy, which makes it, gravitationally speaking, a gentle haven where fragile structures such as the observed bubbles can hold their shape, astronomers said.

The colorful image combines visible and near-infrared exposures taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys, they reported.

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