Barred Galaxy NGC 253

Infrared light can be critical for viewing the underlying structure of a galaxy. In NGC 253, the visible-light view is complicated by the viewing angle, dark dust clouds, and scatterings of massive stars. Switching to the near-infrared lets us see the full population of stars more clearly, revealing a bar running through the center of the galaxy. Including mid-infrared also brings out the dust lanes clearly, and even highlights the areas where stars are forming vigorously, particularly in the galaxy's center.

Visible: Dust and bright stars confuse the view in visible light.

Near-infrared: The base population of stars reveal the spiral arms and central bar.

Mid-infrared: Dust lanes along the spiral arms glow in the mid-infrared.

CREDITS: Visible: ESO. Near-infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA. Mid-infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA.
Default View
image of Visible Barred Galaxy NGC 253
image of Near-infrared Barred Galaxy NGC 253
image of Mid-infrared Barred Galaxy NGC 253