Herschel's View of the Pinwheel Galaxy

Nhsc_nhsc2017-004a_500

nhsc_nhsc2017-004a September 20th, 2017

Credit: ESA/Herschel/NASA/JPL-Caltech CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO; Acknowledgement: R. Hurt (JPL-Caltech)

This image shows the Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as M101, as viewed by ESA's Herschel Space Observatory. Lying more than 20 million light-years from us, this spiral galaxy is similar in shape to our Milky Way, but it is almost twice as large.

Herschel's observations at far-infrared and sub-millimetre wavelengths reveal the glow of cosmic dust, which is a minor but crucial ingredient in the interstellar material in the galaxys spiral arms. This mixture of gas and dust provides the raw material to produce the galaxy's future generations of stars.

The Pinwheel Galaxy is located in the constellation Ursa Major, the Big Dipper. Thanks to its orientation, we can enjoy a face-on view of the beautiful spiral structure of the galaxy's disc.

The spiral arms are dotted with several bright, blue-hued spots of light: these are regions of active star formation, where large numbers of massive stars are being born.

This three-colour image combines Herschel observations at 70 and 100 microns (blue), 160 and 250 microns (green), and 350 and 500 microns (red). North is up and east to the left.

Image Source: /image/nhsc/nhsc2017-004a

Curator: NASA Herschel Science Center, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: Public Domain

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Pinwheel Galaxy M101

Distance

Universescale2
20,000,000 light years
Nhsc_nhsc2017-004a_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 14h 3m 12.3s
DEC = 54° 21’ 1.5”
Orientation
North is up
Field of View
36.0 x 36.0 arcminutes
Constellation
Ursa Major
Nhsc_nhsc2017-004a_1280
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ID
nhsc2017-004a
Subject Category
Subject Name
Pinwheel Galaxy, M101
Credits
ESA/Herschel/NASA/JPL-Caltech CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO; Acknowledgement: R. Hurt (JPL-Caltech)
Lightyears
20,000,000
Redshift
Reference Url
/image/nhsc/nhsc2017-004a
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
210.8012865, 54.3504050
Reference Dimension
1350.0, 1350.0
Reference Pixel
676.0, 676.0
Scale
-0.000444597, 0.00044459714
Rotation
0.000000
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
WCS retrieved using CXCs PinpointWCS
Creator (Curator)
NASA Herschel Science Center
URL
http://www.herschel.caltech.edu/
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
Public Domain
Publisher
NASA Herschel Science Center
Publisher ID
nhsc
Resource ID
Resource URL
/image/nhsc/nhsc2017-004a
Related Resources
Metadata Date
2017-09-21T00:02:09Z
Metadata Version
1.1
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Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

 

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Universescalefull
20,000,000 light years