Antennae Galaxies composite of ALMA and Hubble observations

Eso_eso1137a_500

eso_eso1137a October 3rd, 2011

Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO). Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope

The Antennae Galaxies (also known as NGC 4038 and 4039) are a pair of distorted colliding spiral galaxies about 70 million light-years away, in the constellation of Corvus (The Crow). This view combines ALMA observations, made in two different wavelength ranges during the observatorys early testing phase, with visible-light observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble image is the sharpest view of this object ever taken and serves as the ultimate benchmark in terms of resolution. ALMA observes at much longer wavelengths which makes it much harder to obtain comparably sharp images. However, when the full ALMA array is completed its vision will be up to ten times sharper than Hubble. Most of the ALMA test observations used to create this image were made using only twelve antennas working together far fewer than will be used for the first science observations and much closer together as well.Both of these factors make the new image just a taster of what is to come. As the observatory grows, the sharpness, speed, and quality of its observations will increase dramatically as more antennas become available and the array grows in size. This is nevertheless the best submillimetre-wavelength image ever taken of the Antennae Galaxies and opens a new window on the submillimetre Universe. While visible light shown here mainly in blue reveals the newborn stars in the galaxies, ALMAs view shows us something that cannot be seen at those wavelengths: the clouds of dense cold gas from which new stars form. The ALMA observations shown here in red, pink and yellow were made at specific wavelengths of millimetre and submillimetre light (ALMA bands 3 and 7), tuned to detect carbon monoxide molecules in the otherwise invisible hydrogen clouds, where new stars are forming. Massive concentrations of gas are found not only in the hearts of the two galaxies but also in the chaotic region where they are colliding. Here, the total amount of gas is billions of times the mass of the Sun a rich reservoir of material for future generations of stars. Observations like these will be vital in helping us understand how galaxy collisions can trigger the birth of new stars. This is just one example of how ALMA reveals parts of the Universe that cannot be seen with visible-light and infrared telescopes. #L

Image Source: https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1137a/

Curator: European Southern Observatory, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Antennae Galaxies NGC 4038 NGC 4039
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy » Type » Interacting
Eso_eso1137a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 12h 1m 52.5s
DEC = -18° 52’ 3.0”
Orientation
North is 29.4° CW
Field of View
2.9 x 2.9 arcminutes
Constellation
Corvus

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_blue Hubble Space Telescope (ACS) Optical (B) 435.0 nm
Arrow_left_blue Hubble Space Telescope (ACS) Optical (V) 550.0 nm
Arrow_left_cyan Hubble Space Telescope (ACS) Infrared (I) 814.0 nm
Arrow_left_green Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (None) Millimeter (ALMA Band 7) 870.0 µm
Arrow_left_yellow Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (None) Millimeter (ALMA band 7) 870.0 µm
Arrow_left_orange Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (None) Millimeter (ALMA Band 7) 870.0 µm
Arrow_left_red Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (None) Millimeter (ALMA Band 3) 2.6 mm
Arrow_left_purple Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (None) Millimeter (ALMA band 3) 2.6 mm
Spectrum_ir1
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_cyan
Arrow_top_green
Arrow_top_yellow
Arrow_top_orange
Arrow_top_red
Arrow_top_purple
Eso_eso1137a_1280
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ID
eso1137a
Subject Category
C.5.1.7  
Subject Name
Antennae Galaxies, NGC 4038, NGC 4039
Credits
ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO). Visible light image: the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.eso.org/public/images/eso1137a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array
Instrument
ACS, ACS, ACS, None, None, None, None, None
Color Assignment
Blue, Blue, Cyan, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red, Purple
Band
Optical, Optical, Infrared, Millimeter, Millimeter, Millimeter, Millimeter, Millimeter
Bandpass
B, V, I, ALMA Band 7, ALMA band 7, ALMA Band 7, ALMA Band 3, ALMA band 3
Central Wavelength
435, 550, 814, 870000, 870000, 870000, 2600000, 2600000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
J2000
Reference Value
180.468947, -18.86749
Reference Dimension
3375.0, 3362.0
Reference Pixel
2162.65471595, 1.445501e-05
Scale
-1.445501e-05, 1.444185e-05
Rotation
-29.39683549030
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Position
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
European Southern Observatory
URL
http://www.eso.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
European Southern Observatory
Publisher ID
eso
Resource ID
eso1137a
Metadata Date
2011-09-27T12:03:56+02:00
Metadata Version
1.0
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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There is no distance meta data in this image.