Sunday, April 5, 2009
Look at this beauty.
It's one of our closest galactic neighbors, in all its splendor. It is M33, also known as the Triangulum Galaxy, and the image is courtesy of NASA's Spitzer Telescope. M33 is one of a group of Galaxies, together with our own Milky Way, which travel the universe together, all gravitationally bound. In fact, M33 is one of the few moving toward us, despite the fact that space itself is certainly expanding causing most galaxies to grow farther and farther apart. Yet this one heads toward the Milky Way.
M33 is about 2.9 million light years away from the constellation Triangulum, hence its name, and when viewed with Spitzer's infrared eyes, it sparkles with color and detail. Look at all those supernovae! Imagine the storms, the winds.
The stars are represented by the blue gems you see, and dust rich molecules are seen as green clouds. Those orange-red glowing areas indicate star-forming regions, and the small red flecks outside the spiral are mostly likely distant backround galaxies! Whew. It's incredible. Not only beautiful, it's much larger than first thought.
Basics courtesy of PPT, NASA, JPL, Gryphon
Image credit NASA/JPL- CAlTech/UnivAZ
Posted by Cathy at 12:33 AM