Hubble spies huge clusters of stars formed by ancient encounter

Esahubble_heic0103a_500

esahubble_heic0103a March 7th, 2001

Credit: NASA, ESA & R. de Grijs (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK)

This stunningly beautiful image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the heart of the prototypical starburst galaxy M82. The ongoing violent star formation due to an ancient encounter with its large galactic neighbour, M81, gives this galaxy its disturbed appearance. In the image, taken by Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2, the huge lanes of dust that crisscross M82's disk are another telltale sign of the flurry of star formation. Below the centre and to the right, a strong galactic wind is spewing knotty filaments of hydrogen and nitrogen gas. More than 100 super star clusters - very bright, compact groupings of about 100, 000 stars - are seen in this detailed Hubble picture as white dots sprinkled throughout M82's central region. The dark region just above the centre of the picture is a huge dust cloud. A collaboration of European and American scientists used these clusters to date the ancient interaction between M82 and M81. About 600 million years ago, a region called 'M82 B' (the bright area just below and to the left of the central dust cloud) exploded with new stars. Scientists have discovered that this ancient starburst was triggered by the violent encounter with M81. M82 is a bright (eighth magnitude), nearby (12 million light-years from Earth) galaxy in the constellation Ursa Major (the Great Bear). The Hubble picture was taken on September 15, 1997. The natural-colour composite was constructed from three Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 exposures, which were combined in chromatic order: 4, 250 seconds through a blue filter (428 nm); 2, 800 seconds through a green filter (520 nm); and 2, 200 seconds through a red (820 nm) filter. This image is issued jointly by NASA and ESA.

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0103a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Messier 82 NGC 3034
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy » Activity » Starburst
Esahubble_heic0103a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 9h 55m 59.4s
DEC = 69° 40’ 46.0”
Orientation
North is 71.5° CCW
Field of View
2.5 x 2.5 arcminutes
Constellation
Ursa Major

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_red Hubble Space Telescope (WFPC2) Infrared (I) 820.0 nm
Arrow_left_green Hubble Space Telescope (WFPC2) Optical (V) 520.0 nm
Arrow_left_blue Hubble Space Telescope (WFPC2) Optical (B) 428.0 nm
Spectrum_base
Arrow_top_red
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_blue
Esahubble_heic0103a_1280
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ID
heic0103a
Subject Category
C.5.3.3  
Subject Name
Messier 82, NGC 3034
Credits
NASA, ESA & R. de Grijs (Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK)
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/heic0103a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Distance in light years from NED
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope
Instrument
WFPC2, WFPC2, WFPC2
Color Assignment
Red, Green, Blue
Band
Infrared, Optical, Optical
Bandpass
I, V, B
Central Wavelength
820, 520, 428
Start Time
Integration Time
2200, 2800, 4250
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
148.997586886, 69.6794441322
Reference Dimension
1487.0, 1522.0
Reference Pixel
744.5, 762.0
Scale
-2.76536795955e-05, 2.76536795955e-05
Rotation
71.500000000000028
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org/
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
heic0103a
Metadata Date
2003-12-09T17:03:54+01:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.