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Starburst Galaxy Showers the Universe

By Mr Mark Westmoquette
Physics & Astronomy

 

This image shows a new and unique view of the centre of the nearby galaxy M82. When this galaxy had a near-miss with its neighbour, it set off an explosive burst of star formation, powering plumes of hot gas that extend for tens of thousands of light years above and below the starry plane of the galaxy. These plumes are shown in purple and pink, and contrast with the blue-white disk of stars, seen almost edge-on. M82 – which astronomers call a “starburst galaxy” – is located at a distance of a little more than 10 million light years from our own Milky Way. Images taken with the ground-based WIYN Telescope on Kitt Peak, Arizona, were combined with data from the Hubble Space Telescope enabling the wide-field faint diffuse emission to be captured along with the high-resolution nucleus.



Page last updated: 8th October 2013.