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A dwarf spiral galaxy. The center is not particularly bright and is covered by some dust, while the outer disk and halo wrap around as if swirling in water. Across the face of the galaxy, an arc of brightly glowing spots marks areas where new stars are forming. The galaxy is surrounded by tiny, distant galaxies on a dark background.

Hubble Views an Active Star-Forming Galaxy

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image features IC 3476, a dwarf galaxy that lies about 54 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Coma Berenices. While this image does not look very dramatic – we might say it looks almost serene – the actual physical events taking place in IC 3476 are highly energetic. In fact, the little galaxy is undergoing a process called ram pressure stripping that is driving unusually high levels of star formation in regions of the galaxy.

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, M. Sun

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