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Normal & Starburst Galaxies
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Normal & Starburst Galaxies
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Normal & Starburst Galaxies
Chandra Images
Normal & Starburst Galaxies
Animations & Video: Normal Galaxies & Starburst Galaxies
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Click for high-resolution animation
1. Tour of M101
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only With closed-captions (at YouTube)

This image of the spiral galaxy Messier 101 is a composite of observations from NASA's three Great Observatories: the Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Chandra's view in X-ray light is seen as blue and reveals multi-million-degree gas, exploded stars, and material colliding around black holes. In red, Spitzer's view in infrared light highlights the heat emitted by dust lanes in the galaxy where stars can form. The yellow shows Hubble's data in visible light. Most of this light also comes from stars, and they trace the same spiral structure as the dust lanes. Such multi-wavelength images allow astronomers to see how features in one wavelength match up with those in another, and give everyone a more complete picture of this beautiful galaxy.
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(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/K.Kuntz et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/JHU/K. Kuntz et al; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/STScI/K. Gordon)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. Tour of M84
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only With closed-captions (at YouTube)

M84 is a massive elliptical galaxy located about 55 million light years from Earth in the Virgo Cluster. This composite image is made from X-rays from Chandra, which are colored blue, and radio emission from the Very Large Array that is seen as red. The interesting thing about this image is that astronomers can trace a number of bubbles generated by particles moving at nearly the speed of light. These particles are propelled by the supermassive black hole at the center of the galaxy in the form of a two-sided jet. By studying objects like M84, astronomers hope to better understand how black holes influence the environments that surround them.
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(X-ray (NASA/CXC/MPE/A.Finoguenov et al.); Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/ESO/R.A.Laing et al); Optical (SDSS))

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M84

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Tour of M81
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only With closed-captions (at YouTube)

This image of the mammoth spiral galaxy M81, located about 12 million light years away, contains data from four different NASA satellites. First we see infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope, followed by optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope. The Galex Satellite shows us what M81 looks like in ultraviolet emission. And finally, x-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory reveals what is going on at higher energies. At the center of M81, there is a supermassive black hole that is about 70 million times more massive than the sun. A new study involving Chandra and other telescopes helps astronomers better understand how this black hole is growing.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Wisconsin/D.Pooley & CfA/A.Zezas; Optical: NASA/ESA/CfA/A.Zezas; UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA/J.Huchra et al.; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA)

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M81

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Tour of NGC 4258
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only With closed-captions (at YouTube)

The galaxy NGC 4258 has its arms crossed. At least it appears that it does. A composite image of NGC 4258, about 25 million light-years from Earth, shows an X-shaped pattern when seen in different types of light. Infrared radiation from the Spitzer Space Telescope and optical light data from the Digitized Sky Survey show one set of arms, which are made from stars and dust from the galaxy. However, x-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and radio emission from the Very Large Array reveal a different pair of arms. These dislocated arms are the result of shockwaves, generated by the giant black hole in the center of NGC 4258.
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(Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Maryland/A.S. Wilson et al.; Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech; VLA: NRAO/AUI/NSF)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of M51
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only With closed-captions (at YouTube)

Hubble's image of M51, also known as the Whirlpool Galaxy, shows the majestic spiral arms that are actually long lanes of stars and gas laced with dust. The infrared image from Spitzer also reveals stars and the glow from clouds of interstellar dust. The dust consists mainly of a variety of carbon-based organic molecules. An image from the GALEX mission gives the view of M51 in ultraviolet light. Chandra detects a large number of point-like X-ray sources due to black holes and neutron stars in binary star systems. When combined, all of these observatories paint a more complete picture of the famous galaxy.
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(X-ray (NASA/CXC/Wesleyan Univ./R. Kilgard); UV (NASA/JPL-Caltech); Optical (NASA/ESA/S. Beckwith & The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)); IR (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/R. Kennicutt))

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. Tour of M82
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only With closed-captions (at YouTube)

When seen in visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope, M82 looks like an ordinary spiral galaxy. However, looking at it through the Spitzer Space Telescope in infrared radiation, we see a startlingly different picture with material being blasted from the galaxy's disk. X-ray data from Chandra reveal scorching gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by this violent outburst. The composite image of all of these different data reveals the true nature of this galaxy.
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(X-ray: NASA/CXC/JHU/D.Strickland; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA/The Hubble Heritage Team; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of AZ/C. Engelbracht)

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M82

Click for high-resolution animation
7. Tour of Sombrero
QuicktimeMPEG Audio Only With closed-captions (at YouTube)

We begin with the Hubble Space Telescope's optical light view of the Sombrero galaxy, also known as M104. Sombrerois one of the largest galaxies in the nearby Virgo cluster, about 28 million light years from Earth. Some of the prominent features of the Sombrero, which are highlighted in Hubble's image, include its large bulge of stars in the center and the thick band of dust that appears as the dark lane across the galaxy's mid-section. Like the Milky Way, Sombrero is a spiral galaxy. However, we see Sombrero edge-on from our vantage point from Earth, rather than the face-down perspective that is more familiar. A Great Observatories view of the same Sombrero reveals different aspects of the galaxy. The X-ray image from the Chandra X-ray Observatory shows hot gas in the galaxy that appears as a diffuse glow that extends over 60,000 light years from the Sombrero's center. Also, Chandra detects many point-like sources of X-ray emission that are mostly stars within Sombrero but some are quasars in the distant background. The rim of dust that blocks the starlight in the Hubble image glows brightly in the Spitzer Space Telescope's infrared image. Also, the central bulge of stars strongly emits infrared emission detected by Spitzer.
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(Credit: X-ray: NASA/UMass/Q.D.Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI/AURA/Hubble Heritage; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. AZ/R.Kennicutt/SINGS Team)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
8. Images of M33 X-7
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with a wide-field optical image from Kitt Peak of M33, a spiral galaxy about 3 million light years from Earth, and then zooms into a view from the Gemini telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Next, the view zooms into an even smaller field, from the Hubble Space Telescope, that includes M33 X-7, the most massive known black hole to be formed from the collapse of a star. The final image is a composite of the region around M33 X-7 that contains both the Chandra and Hubble data.
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(Kitt Peak: NOAO/AURA/NSF/T.A.Rector; Gemini: AURA/Gemini Obs./SDSU/J.Orosz et al.; HST: NASA/STScI/SDSU/J.Orosz et al.; Chandra: NASA/CXC/CfA/P.Plucinsky et al.)

Click for high-resolution animation
9. Zoom into Spiral Galaxy C153
QuicktimeMPEG This video zooms into the C153 spiral galaxy found in the galaxy cluster Abell 2125. The initial view moves from the NOAO telescope wide-field mosaic into the Hubble Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 image of C153. The Hubble image then dissolves into the composite detail of X-ray, radio and optical images.
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Click for high-resolution animation
10. Animation of Galaxy C153 Stripped of Hydrogen
QuicktimeMPEG This animated artist's concept shows how the "distressed" galaxy C153 is being stripped of hydrogen from its spiral arms.
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