The Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as Messier 101, is a face-on spiral galaxy approximately 22 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation Ursa Major.
This is a composite image of the spiral galaxy M101 combining views from the Spitzer Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, and Chandra X-ray Observatory. The red colors indicate infrared light, yellow is visible, and blue is X-ray. In many ways it is similar to own Milky Way galaxy but larger. The visible light captured by Hubble shows off the swirls of bright stars and glowing gas that give the galaxy its nickname the Pinwheel Galaxy. In contrast, the infrared-light image from the Spitzer telescope sees deeper into the spiral arms to reveal the glow of dust lanes where dense clouds can collapse to form new stars. Chandra's X-ray picture uncovers high-energy features of the galaxy, like remnants of exploded stars or matter zooming around black holes. The overlap of observations from these three telescopes provides an in-depth view of the galaxy.
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Object Name: M101, NGC 4547, The Pinwheel Galaxy
Release Date: Feb 10, 2009
Image Credits: NASA, ESA, CXC, SSC, and STScI