Description: A composite image of M51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, shows a majestic spiral galaxy. Chandra finds point-like X-ray sources (purple) that are black holes and neutron stars in binary star systems, along with a diffuse glow of hot gas. Data from Hubble (green) and Spitzer (red) both highlight long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust. A view of M51 with GALEX shows hot, young stars that produce lots of ultraviolet energy (blue).

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: 2007

Persistent URL:

Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Wesleyan Univ./R.Kilgard et al; UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Optical: NASA/ESA/S. Beckwith & Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA); IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ Univ. of AZ/R. Kennicutt

Accession number: m51