Infrared Universe: Pinwheel Galaxy (M101)
Release Date: June 18, 2018 1:00PM (EDT)
Media Use: Copyright
About This Video
M101 (also nicknamed the Pinwheel Galaxy) lies in the northern circumpolar constellation, Ursa Major (The Great Bear), at a distance of 25 million light-years from Earth. The galaxy fills a region in the sky equal to one-fifth the area of the full moon. The galaxy's spiral arms are sprinkled with large regions of star-forming nebulae. These nebulae are areas of intense star formation within giant molecular hydrogen clouds. Brilliant young clusters of hot, blue, newborn stars trace out the spiral arms.
Optical: Optical data from Hubble traces the light from stars.
Infrared: Data from Spitzer shows dusty lanes in the galaxy where stars are forming.
X-ray: Chandra data reveals the hottest and most energetic areas due to exploded stars, superheated gas, and material falling in toward the central black hole.
ABOUT THE INFRARED UNIVERSE COLLECTION
The human eye can only see visible light, but objects give off a variety of wavelengths of light. To see an object as it truly exists, we would ideally look at its appearance through the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Telescopes show us objects as they appear emitting different energies of light, with each wavelength conveying unique information about the object. The Webb Space Telescope will study infrared light from celestial objects with much greater clarity and sensitivity than ever before. Explore the Infrared Universe.