Infrared Universe: Cigar Galaxy (M82)
Release Date: October 15, 2018 10:00AM (EDT)
Media Use: Copyright
About This Video
Messier 82 (M82), or the Cigar Galaxy, is an edge-on spiral undergoing a massive burst of star formation in its core. Many thousands of stars, and their surrounding gas and dust, have been stirred up. These stars are expelling violent winds that are blowing gas and dust out of the galaxy. The only hint of this in visible light are fountains of hot hydrogen gas streaming out of its disk. In infrared, the burst becomes clearer as we see massive amounts of dust also blowing out of the center.
Optical: In visible light the edge-on disk highlights the geysers of hot gas shooting out of M82's core.
Infrared: Infrared light lets us see this galaxy's full disk of stars and reveals volumes of dust (shown in red) carried along with the hot gas.
X-ray: Chandra's X-ray image reveals gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by the violent outflow.
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.