A Warhol-like have a look at the Whirlpool, courtesy of Spitzer – Astronomy Now

June 30, 2019 - Comment

The attractive Whirlpool galaxy, often known as Messier 51, is a favorite goal for beginner astronomers, two galaxies within the technique of gravitationally merging, one a spectacular face-on spiral, the opposite a way more compact however nonetheless extremely luminous starswarm. Each characteristic supermassive black holes of their cores. On this Andy Warhol-like collection of photos,


The attractive Whirlpool galaxy, often known as Messier 51, is a favorite goal for beginner astronomers, two galaxies within the technique of gravitationally merging, one a spectacular face-on spiral, the opposite a way more compact however nonetheless extremely luminous starswarm. Each characteristic supermassive black holes of their cores. On this Andy Warhol-like collection of photos, a visible-light view at far left, captured by the Kitt Peak Nationwide Observatory’s 2.1-metre (6.Eight-foot) telescope, exhibits M51’s spiral arms and the mud lanes that obscure background stars. The second body from left combines two visible-light wavelengths with infrared information from Spitzer, emphasising the mud lanes within the spiral arms. The third panel from left exhibits M51 in three wavelengths of infrared gentle (from three.6 to eight microns), highlighting reddish mud clouds principally made up of carbon together with a bluish haze representing the blended gentle of billions of stars. The far-right panel extends the infrared view to a wavelength of 24 microns, highlighting areas the place the mud is extraordinarily scorching. The brilliant reddish-white concentrations point out areas the place stars are within the technique of forming and heating the encompassing atmosphere.

A number of views of the Whirlpool galaxy. Picture: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The infrared views of M51b, the smaller companion, present a close to whole absence of the mud lanes seen within the decrease spiral. The faint blue haze could mirror the blended gentle of stars ejected from each galaxies by the continued gravitational interplay.



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