Description: M82 is a galaxy where stars are forming at rates that are tens or even hundreds of times higher than in a normal galaxy. In this Chandra image (where low, medium, and high-energy X-rays are colored red, green, and blue respectively), M82 is seen nearly edge-on with its disk crossing from about 10 o’clock to about 4 o’clock. There are over a hundred point-like X-ray sources, some of which are likely black holes pulling matter from companion stars. Supernovas have produced the large bubbles of hot gas that extend for millions of light years to the upper right and lower left of the galactic disk.

Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray

Date: 2011

Persistent URL:

Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Gift line: NASA/CXC/Wesleyan/R.Kilgard et al.

Accession number: m82_471

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