Cool, new views of Andromeda galaxy

January 29, 2013 by Whitney Clavin
The ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy stand out colorfully in this new image from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation. Credit: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/NHSC

(Phys.org)—Two new eye-catching views from the Herschel space observatory are fit for a princess. They show the elegant spiral galaxy Andromeda, named after the mythical Greek princess known for her beauty.

The , also known as Messier 31, lies 2 million light-years away, and is the closest large galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is estimated to have up to one trillion stars, whereas the Milky Way contains hundreds of billions. Recent evidence suggests Andromeda's overall mass may in fact be less than the mass of the Milky Way, when dark matter is included.

Herschel, a mission with important NASA contributions, sees the longer-wavelength infrared light from the galaxy, revealing its rings of cool dust. Some of this dust is the very coldest in the galaxy—only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero.

In this new view of the Andromeda galaxy from the Herschel space observatory, cool lanes of forming stars are revealed in the finest detail yet. Herschel is a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation. Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS & SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz

In both views, warmer dust is highlighted in the central regions by different colors. New stars are being born in this central, crowded hub, and throughout the galaxy's rings in dusty knots. Spokes of dust can also be seen between the rings.

One view, seen at www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA16682 , is a mosaic of data from Herschel's Photodetecting Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and spectral and photometric imaging receiver (SPIRE).

The second view, seen at www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA16681 , shows data from only the SPIRE instrument, which captures the longest of wavelengths detectable by Herschel.

Explore further: Andromeda in a new light

Related Stories

Andromeda in a new light

January 5, 2011

Two ESA observatories have combined forces to show the Andromeda Galaxy in a new light. Herschel sees rings of star formation in this, the most detailed image of the Andromeda Galaxy ever taken at infrared wavelengths, and ...

Twisted tale of our galaxy's ring

July 20, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- New observations from the Herschel Space Observatory show a bizarre, twisted ring of dense gas at the center of our Milky Way galaxy. Only a few portions of the ring, which stretches across more than 600 ...

Andromeda's coat of many colors (w/ video)

April 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- ESA's fleet of space telescopes has captured the nearby Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, in different wavelengths. Most of these wavelengths are invisible to the eye and each shows a different aspect ...

Herschel and Spitzer see nearby galaxies' stardust

January 10, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- The cold dust that builds blazing stars is revealed in new images that combine observations from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency-led mission with important NASA contributions; and ...

Spitzer sees spider web of stars

July 21, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Those aren't insects trapped in a spider's web -- they're stars in our own Milky Way galaxy, lying between us and another spiral galaxy called IC 342. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope captured this picture ...

A new, distant arm of the Milky Way galaxy

June 13, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Our Milky Way galaxy, like other spiral galaxies, has a disk with sweeping arms of stars, gas, and dust that curve around the galaxy like the arms of a huge pinwheel.

Recommended for you

Freeze-dried food and 1 bathroom: 6 simulate Mars in dome

January 20, 2017

Crammed into a dome with one bathroom, six scientists will spend eight months munching on mostly freeze-dried foods—with a rare treat of Spam—and have only their small sleeping quarters to retreat to for solace.

Image: Wavemaker moon Daphnis

January 20, 2017

The wavemaker moon, Daphnis, is featured in this view, taken as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made one of its ring-grazing passes over the outer edges of Saturn's rings on Jan. 16, 2017. This is the closest view of the small ...

Video: A colorful 'landing' on Pluto

January 20, 2017

What would it be like to actually land on Pluto? This movie was made from more than 100 images taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft over six weeks of approach and close flyby in the summer of 2015. The video offers a trip ...

The evolution of massive galaxy clusters

January 20, 2017

Galaxy clusters have long been recognized as important laboratories for the study of galaxy formation and evolution. The advent of the new generation of millimeter and submillimeter wave survey telescopes, like the South ...

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

megmaltese
1 / 5 (4) Jan 30, 2013
That blue at the center is the mess the central immense black hole does while eating stars... incredible image.
yash17
1 / 5 (7) Jan 30, 2013
"The Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31, lies 2 million light-years away, and is the closest large galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is estimated to have up to one trillion stars, whereas the Milky Way contains hundreds of billions. Recent evidence suggests Andromeda's overall mass may in fact be less than the mass of the Milky Way, when dark matter is included."

"Cloud & rain model" really likes this cosmological datum, as "Car model" expects galaxies mass density in cosmos isn't homogeneous. Likewise, their size isn't homogeneous. See this;
"http://phys.org/n...se.html"

When galaxies get extremely dense, wherever they are, they will fleet back to Universe nucleus (located around behind Ursa Major & Leo constellation).

What about elusive dark energy? Dark energy isn't elusive with "Car model." There are two kinds of energy at cosmos; cosmic pressure of dark matter & gravity of Universe nucleus. That's all.
antialias_physorg
4.2 / 5 (5) Jan 30, 2013
That blue at the center is the mess the central immense black hole does while eating stars

Not quite. The central part you see in blue is simply very active star formation because dust concentration there is highest.
The black hole and its accretion disc are much too small to see on this image.

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.