A Spectacular Image to Celebrate the International Year of Astronomy: A face-on spiral galaxy about 22 million light years from Earth.
Description: This image of M101 is a composite of data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, and Hubble Space Telescope. Sources of X-rays detected by Chandra (colored blue) include million-degree gas, the debris from exploded stars, and material zooming around black holes and neutron stars. Spitzer’s view in infrared light (red) highlights the heat emitted by dust lanes in the galaxy where stars can form. Finally, most of the visible light data from Hubble (yellow) come from stars that trace the same spiral structure as the dust lanes.
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
Persistent URL: chandra.harvard.edu/photo/2009/m101/
Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Gift line: X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/K.Kuntz et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/JHU/K. Kuntz et al; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/K. Gordon
Accession number: m101_br_comp