Amazing Andromeda Galaxy

Oct 03, 2006
Amazing Andromeda Galaxy
The Andromeda galaxy, in a new composite image from NASA´s Galaxy Evolution Explorer and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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.

The wide, ultraviolet eyes of Galaxy Evolution Explorer reveal Andromeda's "fiery" nature -- hotter regions brimming with young and old stars. In contrast, Spitzer's super-sensitive infrared eyes show Andromeda's relatively "cool" side, which includes embryonic stars hidden in their dusty cocoons.

Galaxy Evolution Explorer detected young, hot, high-mass stars, which are represented in blue, while populations of relatively older stars are shown as green dots. The bright yellow spot at the galaxy's center depicts a particularly dense population of old stars.

Swaths of red in the galaxy's disk indicate areas where Spitzer found cool, dusty regions where stars are forming. These stars are still shrouded by the cosmic clouds of dust and gas that collapsed to form them.

Together, Galaxy Evolution Explorer and Spitzer complete the picture of Andromeda's swirling spiral arms. Hints of pinkish purple depict regions where the galaxy's populations of hot, high-mass stars and cooler, dust-enshrouded stars co-exist.

Located 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda is our largest nearby galactic neighbor. The galaxy's entire disk spans about 260,000 light-years, which means that a light beam would take 260,000 years to travel from one end of the galaxy to the other. By comparison, our Milky Way galaxy's disk is about 100,000 light-years across.

This image is a false color composite comprised of data from Galaxy Evolution Explorer's far-ultraviolet detector (blue), near-ultraviolet detector (green), and Spitzer's multiband imaging photometer at 24 microns (red).

Source: NASA, by Whitney Clavin

Explore further: Thermonuclear supernova ejects our galaxy's fastest star (w/ video)

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pleurobot is salamander-like robot with lifelike motion

8 hours ago

A video showing "multimodal locomotion in a bioinspired robot" has been making the rounds, and the video demonstrates advances in robotics as scientific tools as well as potential robots for search and rescue ...

Recommended for you

How far back are we looking in time?

3 hours ago

The Universe is a magic time window, allowing us to peer into the past. The further out we look, the further back in time we see. Despite our brains telling us things we see happen at the instant we view ...

'Planck' puts Einstein to the test

22 hours ago

Researchers, including physicists from Heidelberg University, have gained new insights into dark energy and the theory of gravitation by analysing data from the "Planck" satellite mission of the European ...

Distant supernova split four ways by gravitational lens

22 hours ago

Over the past several decades, astronomers have come to realize that the sky is filled with magnifying glasses that allow the study of very distant and faint objects barely visible with even the largest telescopes.

User comments : 0

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.