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A spiral galaxy about 25 million light years from Earth.

Description: Chandra's observations of NGC 4631 reveal a giant halo of hot gas (shown in blue and purple) surrounding this spiral galaxy. The structure across the middle of the image and the extended faint filaments (shown in orange) represent data from the Hubble Space Telescope that reveal giant bursting bubbles created by merging clusters of massive stars. NGC 4631 closely resembles our Milky Way galaxy, and observations of NGC 4631 and similar galaxies provide astronomers with an important tool in the understanding our own galactic environment.


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: 2001


Persistent URL:


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/D.Wang et al.


Accession number: ngc4631

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Taken on September 30, 2008