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M82: Images From Space Telescopes Produce Stunning View of Starburst Galaxy | by Smithsonian Institution
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M82: Images From Space Telescopes Produce Stunning View of Starburst Galaxy

Description: Images from three of NASA's Great Observatories were combined to create this spectacular, multiwavelength view of the starburst galaxy M82. Optical light from stars (yellow-green/Hubble Space Telescope) shows the disk of a modest-sized, apparently normal galaxy. Another Hubble observation designed to image 10,000 degree Celsius hydrogen gas (orange) reveals a startlingly different picture of matter blasting out of the galaxy. The Spitzer Space Telescope infrared image (red) shows that cool gas and dust are also being ejected. Chandra's X-ray image (blue) reveals gas heated to millions of degrees by the violent outflow, which can be traced back to vigorous star formation in the central regions of the galaxy. The burst of star formation is thought to have been initiated by a close encounter with a large nearby galaxy, M81, about 100 million years ago.


Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray


Date: 2002


Persistent URL:


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Collection: Normal Galaxies and Starburst Galaxies Collection


Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/D.Strickland; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA/The Hubble Heritage Team; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of AZ/C. Engelbracht


Accession number: M82

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Taken on September 30, 2008