NASA publishes breathtaking photo of Pinwheel Galaxy
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
In 1609 Galileo directed his telescope to the sky, which modern astronomy was born. This year we 400ste years of modern astronomy, so in 2009 known as the International Year of Astronomy. The NASA Great Observatories (the Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-Ray Observatory) have celebrated with making a great recording, on the anniversary of Galileo (February 15) will distribute about planetariums, museums and schools.
The most remarkable of these photos is a huge poster (three square meters!) Of the spiral galaxy Messier 101, the optical view from Hubble, the infrared view of Spitzer and the Chandra X-ray image are combined into a single image from multiple wavelengths. It is as if you use both your eyes, your night vision if you X-ray eyes at the same time.
The poster also contains the original pictures from Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra, which M101 is visible in different wavelengths. These photographs illustrate not only the groundbreaking science that with the three space telescopes done, but also show how far astronomy since the days of Galileo advanced.
Messier 101 is a spiral galaxy that is seen from above and is at a distance of 22 million light years away in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major. It is in many respects similar to the Galaxy (although somewhat larger). The visible images of Hubble to a dazzling collection of bright stars and glowing gas, which give the system its nickname: the Pinwheel Galaxy.
The infrared images from Spitzer look deep into the spiral arms of the system and let the glowing dust bands, which are the birthplace of many new stars. The X-ray images from Chandra show the high energy properties of the system, such as the remnants of exploded stars and matter clouds that swirl around a black hole, ready to be verorberd. The merger of these observations provide a detailed and deep view of the galaxy, both for astronomers and the public will be worth the trouble.