NASA announced its complete ultraviolet light survey of nearby galaxies. The data gathered were as part of the Legacy ExtraGalactic Ultraviolet Survey (LEGUS), a Hubble Treasury Project. It works to look at 50 local galaxies in multiple colors.

LEGUS’ objectives are to quantify how star formation evolves in both space and time and discriminate between the different models of star clusters evolution. With these data, the team will explore the impacts of the environment on star formation and cluster evolution. They also aim to study the surrounding areas of supernovae.

The galaxies are part of those observed by the LEGUS project. Among those studied are two dwarf galaxies and four massive spiral galaxies. Photo from NASA/ESA/LEGUS Team

Daniella Calzetti from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, the survey’s project leader, said that there has never been a star cluster and a stellar catalog that include observation in ultraviolet light. She added that ultraviolet light detects the youngest and hottest star populations.

For this project, they used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera and the Advanced Camera for Surveys for one year to take photos of visible and ultraviolet light images and their young stars and clusters. To those, they added visible-light images from archives to complete the pictures.

These ultraviolet light measurements allow astronomers to investigate current locations of recent star formations in different galaxies. They also enable investigation of the evolution of stars.

Astronomers will release star catalogs for each of the LEGUS’ galaxies and formation catalogs of thirty galaxies, and their images as well. The star cluster catalogs contain about 8,000 young clusters from 1 million and 100 million years old.

The survey also works to aid astronomers in interpreting views of galaxies in the distant universe. The team will use the James Webb telescope in NASA’s future infrared observatory to “penetrate dusty stellar cocoons to reveal the infrared glow of infant stars.”

Video by HubbleSEA