The European Space Agency (ESA) recently imaged Messier 61, a spiral starburst galaxy and one of the largest galactic members of the Virgo Cluster. It’s known as a starburst galaxy because it has an unusually high amount of stars being born, allowing astronomers to use it as a laboratory to better understand the mesmerizing phenomena of star formation.
Stars basically form when clouds of cold gas collapse and the energetic radiation from them heat and ionize the surrounding remaining gas. This ionized gas will shine, doubling as a beacon of ongoing star formation. What you’re looking at here in this jewel-like image is glowing gas appearing as a whirlpool of gold, depicting direct traces of stars being born. Ever wonder what the speed of light looks like? Well, you’re in luck, T-CUP captured the speed of light at 10-trillion FPS.