Hiding Out Behind the Milky Way

Apr 07, 2010
A leggy cosmic creature comes out of hiding in this new infrared view from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA

(PhysOrg.com) -- A leggy cosmic creature comes out of hiding in this new infrared view from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

The spiral beauty, called IC 342 and sometimes the "hidden galaxy," is shrouded behind our own galaxy, the Milky Way. Stargazers and professional astronomers have a hard time seeing the galaxy through the Milky Way's bright band of , dust and gas. WISE's infrared vision cuts through this veil, offering a crisp view.

In a spiral galaxy like IC 342, dust and gas are concentrated in the arms. The denser pockets of gas trigger the formation of new stars, as represented here in green and yellow. The core, shown in red, is also bursting with young stars, which are heating up dust. Stars that appear blue reside within our Milky Way, between us and IC 342.

This galaxy has been of great interest to astronomers because it is relatively close. However, determining its distance from Earth has proven difficult due to the intervening . Astronomer Edwin Hubble first thought the galaxy might belong to our own Local Group of , but current estimates now place it farther away, at about 6.6 to 11 million light-years.

This image was made from observations by all four infrared detectors aboard WISE. Blue and cyan represent infrared light at wavelengths of 3.4 and 4.6 microns, which is primarily light from stars. Green and red represent light at 12 and 22 microns, which is primarily emission from warm dust.

Explore further: Astronomer confirms a new "Super-Earth" planet

Related Stories

WISE Captures a Cosmic Rose

Mar 16, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new infrared image from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, shows a cosmic rosebud blossoming with new stars. The stars, called the Berkeley 59 cluster, are the blue dots ...

Amazing Andromeda Galaxy

Oct 03, 2006

The many "personalities" of our great galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, are exposed in this new composite image from NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Spitzer Space Telescope.

Akari's observations of galaxy M101

Sep 07, 2007

M101 is a spiral galaxy, 170 000 light-years in diameter. AKARI’s new observations reveal differing populations of stars spread across its spiral arms.

Astrophysicists map the Milky Way's 4 spiral arms

Jan 05, 2009

Iowa State University's Martin Pohl is part of a research team that has developed the first complete map of the Milky Way galaxy's spiral arms. The map shows the inner part of the Milky Way has two prominent, symmetric spiral ...

Hubble's view of barred spiral galaxy NGC 1672

Apr 03, 2007

NGC 1672, visible from the Southern Hemisphere, is seen almost face on and shows regions of intense star formation. The greatest concentrations of star formation are found in the so-called starburst regions ...

Recommended for you

Kepler proves it can still find planets

Dec 18, 2014

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the report of the Kepler spacecraft's death was greatly exaggerated. Despite a malfunction that ended its primary mission in May 2013, Kepler is still alive and working. The evidence ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

omatumr
1 / 5 (4) Apr 07, 2010
This looks like additional evidence that repulsive neutron interactions cause the cosmos to fragment, although the Hydrogen bomb convinced most astronomers that the cosmos is powered by fusion rather than fragmentation.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
shavera
5 / 5 (3) Apr 08, 2010
I am afraid to feed the troll but... WTF? First, in what way does this article have _Anything_ to do with what you mention? Second, what you mention is just silly technobabble with no real meaning.

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.