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: Dwarf galaxies feel the blast from larger neighbours

Related Stories

Image: Hubble sees a "mess of stars"

August 17, 2015

Bursts of pink and red, dark lanes of mottled cosmic dust, and a bright scattering of stars—this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows part of a messy barred spiral galaxy known as NGC 428. It lies approximately 48 ...

NGC 2367: Buried in the heart of a giant

July 1, 2015

This rich view of an array of colorful stars and gas was captured by the Wide Field Imager camera, on the MPG/ESO 2.2-meter telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile. It shows a young open cluster of stars known as ...

Soggy invaders from space

June 24, 2015

Is there a water shortage out there? It's an important question if you're looking for biology beyond Earth. Experts will tell you that, while other fluids may be able to incubate life (ammonia and liquefied natural gas come ...

Lost in space: New Hubble image of galaxy NGC 6503

June 10, 2015

Although the Universe may seem spacious most galaxies are clumped together in groups or clusters and a neighbour is never far away. But this galaxy, known as NGC 6503, has found itself in a lonely position, shown here at ...

Recommended for you

NASA measuring the pulsating aurora

October 7, 2015

Thanks to a lucky conjunction of two satellites, a ground-based array of all-sky cameras, and some spectacular aurora borealis, researchers have uncovered evidence for an unexpected role that electrons have in creating the ...

The topolariton, a new half-matter, half-light particle

October 7, 2015

A new type of "quasiparticle" theorized by Caltech's Gil Refael, a professor of theoretical physics and condensed matter theory, could help improve the efficiency of a wide range of photonic devices—technologies, such as ...

Perfectly accurate clocks turn out to be impossible

October 7, 2015

Can the passage of time be measured precisely, always and everywhere? The answer will upset many watchmakers. A team of physicists from the universities of Warsaw and Nottingham have just shown that when we are dealing with ...


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.