Spitzer Turns Two

August 26, 2005
Spitzer Turns Two

Two years ago today, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope blasted into the same dark skies it now better understands. In just two years, the observatory's infrared eyes have uncovered a hidden universe teeming with warm stellar embryos, chaotic planet-forming disks and majestic galaxies, including the delightfully odd galaxy called NGC 4725 shown here.

This peculiar galaxy is thought to have only one spiral arm. Most spiral galaxies have two or more arms. Astronomers refer to NGC 4725 as a ringed barred spiral galaxy because a prominent ring of stars encircles a bar of stars at its center (the bar is seen here as a horizontal ridge with faint red features).

Our own Milky Way galaxy sports multiple arms and a proportionally smaller bar and ring.

In this false-color Spitzer picture, the galaxy's arm is highlighted in red, while its center and outlying halo are blue. Red represents warm dust clouds illuminated by newborn stars, while blue indicates older, cooler stellar populations. The red spokes seen projecting outward from the arm are clumps of stellar matter that may have been pushed together by instable magnetic fields.

NGC 4725 is located 41 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices.

This picture is composed of four images taken by Spitzer's infrared array camera at 3.6 (blue), 4.5 (green), 5.8 (red), and 8.0 (red) microns. The contribution from starlight (measured at 3.6 microns) has been subtracted from the 5.8- and 8-micron images to enhance the visibility of the dust features.

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: The sun

Related Stories

The sun

September 28, 2015

The sun is the center of the Solar System and the source of all life and energy here on Earth. It accounts for more than 99.86% of the mass of the Solar System and it's gravity dominates all the planets and objects that orbit ...

Spiral galaxies may be dying because of bars

November 10, 2010

With the help of the army of volunteers working on the Galaxy Zoo 2 'citizen science' project an international team of scientists led by a Portsmouth astrophysicist may have discovered what is killing spiral galaxies.

Split-personality elliptical galaxy holds a hidden spiral

October 22, 2012

(Phys.org)—Most big galaxies fit into one of two camps: pinwheel-shaped spiral galaxies and blobby elliptical galaxies. Spirals like the Milky Way are hip and happening places, with plenty of gas and dust to birth new stars. ...

Red stars and big bulges: How black holes shape galaxies

April 22, 2014

(Phys.org) —The universe we can see is made up of billions of galaxies, each containing anywhere from hundreds of thousands to hundreds of billions of stars. Large numbers of galaxies are elliptical in shape, red and mostly ...

Triangulum galaxy snapped by VST

August 6, 2014

The VLT Survey Telescope at ESO's Paranal Observatory in Chile has captured a beautifully detailed image of the galaxy Messier 33. This nearby spiral, the second closest large galaxy to our own galaxy, is packed with bright ...

Recommended for you

Scientists use CRISPR technology to edit crop genes

November 30, 2015

CRISPR gene-editing is allowing rapid scientific advances in many fields, including human health and now it has been shown that crop research can also benefit from this latest exciting technology.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.