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Interstellar Medium


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Astronomers call InterStellar Medium (ISM) to the matter and the radiation in between stars, within the same galaxy. This matter presents extremely low densities, in comparison to Earth's densities and it can be found is the phases of ionic, atomic and molecular matter. In a nutshell, 99% of the ISM is in form of gas while the remaining 1%, is formed dust. The dominant element in the interstellar matter is hydrogen (75%), followed by helium (25%) and with a small fraction (0.1%) of heavy elements, such as carbons, oxygen, and nitrogen. The study of the interstellar medium is a fascinating topic, which offers the possibility to understand how dead stars (in the form of supernova)  may impact with their environment and trigger star-formation.


Explore in ESAsky and classify the galaxies you observe. You will learn about the structure and properties of the ISM and how to extract information from astronomical images.
Keywords: ISM, ESAsky.