Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Vast clouds of hydrogen gas create a pinkish pinwheel in this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of NGC 3982.

Explore the winding arms of the face-on spiral. NGC 3982 spans about 30,000 light-years; one-third the size of our Milky Way Galaxy. The pink areas are huge clouds of glowing hydrogen gas providing a rich birthplace for stars. Newborn star clusters of blue stars extend to the edges of the galaxy. Lanes of dark dust entwine the spiral arms and will provide new material for the next generation of star formation. Older, yellow and white stars pack NGC 3982’s tightly wound core.

Astronomers used special filters to highlight the colors of the pink hydrogen star clouds and to show light that is normally invisible to our eyes.

NGC 3982 is a fairly close galaxy about 68 million light-years from Earth toward the constellation Ursa Major, the Great Bear.