A Pinwheel Galaxy Rainbow

Spitzer_sig12-005_1024

spitzer_sig12-005 May 23rd, 2012

Credit: NASA, ESA, CXC, JPL, Caltech and STScI

This image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, or M101, combines data in the infrared, visible, ultraviolet and x-rays from four of NASAs space telescopes. This multi-spectral view shows that both young and old stars are evenly distributed along M101s tightly-wound spiral arms. Such composite images allow astronomers to see how features in one part of the spectrum match up with those seen in other parts. It is like seeing with a regular camera, an ultraviolet camera, night-vision goggles and X-Ray vision, all at once!

The Pinwheel Galaxy is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70% larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy, with a diameter of about 170,000 light years, and sits at a distance of 21 million light years from Earth. This means that the light were seeing in this image left the Pinwheel Galaxy about 21 million years ago - many millions of years before humans ever walked the Earth.

The red colors in the image show infrared light, as seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope. These areas show the heat emitted by dusty lanes in the galaxy, where stars are forming.

The yellow component is visible light, observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Most of this light comes from stars, and they trace the same spiral structure as the dust lanes seen in the infrared.

The blue areas are ultraviolet light, given out by hot, young stars that formed about 1 million years ago. The Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) captured this component of the image.

Finally, the hottest areas are shown in purple, where the Chandra X-ray observatory observed the X-ray emission from exploded stars, million-degree gas, and material colliding around black holes.

Provider: Spitzer Space Telescope

Image Source: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/5163-sig12-005-A-Pinwheel-Galaxy-Rainbow

Curator: Spitzer Space Telescope, Pasadena, CA, USA

Image Use Policy: http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy

Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Object Name
Pinwheel Galaxy Messier 101 M101
Subject - Local Universe
Galaxy > Type > Spiral
Galaxy > Activity > Normal

Distance

Universescale2
27,000,000 light years
Spitzer_sig12-005_128
 

Position Details

Position (ICRS)
RA = 14h 3m 12.4s
DEC = 54° 20’ 55.0”
Orientation
North is 0.1° CCW
Field of View
23.4 x 23.4 arcminutes
Constellation
Ursa Major

Color Mapping

  Telescope Spectral Band Wavelength
Arrow_left_purple Chandra (ACIS) X-ray 826.7 pm
Arrow_left_blue GALEX Ultraviolet (Far-UV) 150.0 nm
Arrow_left_yellow Hubble (ACS) Optical (B-band) 435.0 nm
Arrow_left_red Spitzer (IRAC) Infrared (Mid-IR) 8.0 µm
Spectrum_xray1
Arrow_top_purple
Arrow_top_blue
Arrow_top_yellow
Arrow_top_red
Spitzer_sig12-005_1280
×
ID
sig12-005
Subject Category
C.5.1.1.   C.5.3.1.  
Subject Name
Pinwheel Galaxy, Messier 101, M101
Credits
NASA, ESA, CXC, JPL, Caltech and STScI
Release Date
2012-05-23
Lightyears
27,000,000
Redshift
0.0008
Reference Url
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/images/5163-sig12-005-A-Pinwheel-Galaxy-Rainbow
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Good
Distance Notes
Facility
Chandra, GALEX, Hubble, Spitzer
Instrument
ACIS, -, ACS, IRAC
Color Assignment
Purple, Blue, Yellow, Red
Band
X-ray, Ultraviolet, Optical, Infrared
Bandpass
-, Far-UV, B-band, Mid-IR
Central Wavelength
0.8267, 150, 435, 8000
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
ICRS
Equinox
Reference Value
210.8015594, 54.3486070
Reference Dimension
2299.0, 2299.0
Reference Pixel
1150.5, 1150.5
Scale
0.00016934, 0.00016933997
Rotation
0.05
Coordinate System Projection:
TAN
Quality
Full
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
Spitzer Space Telescope
URL
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
1200 E. California Blvd.
City
Pasadena
State/Province
CA
Postal Code
91125
Country
USA
Rights
http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/info/18-Image-Use-Policy
Publisher
Spitzer Science Center
Publisher ID
spitzer
Resource ID
sig12-005.tif
Metadata Date
2012-05-24
Metadata Version
×

 

Detailed color mapping information coming soon...

×
Universescalefull
27,000,000 light years