Image of the Day: New Views of the Andromeda Galaxy --Estimated to Harbor One Trillion Stars
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January 29, 2013

Image of the Day: New Views of the Andromeda Galaxy --Estimated to Harbor One Trillion Stars

 

         Galaxy

 

The elegant spiral galaxy Andromeda, named after the mythical Greek princess known for her beauty, also known as Messier 31, lies 2 million light-years away, and is the closest large galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is estimated to have up to one trillion stars, whereas the Milky Way contains hundreds of billions. Recent evidence suggests Andromeda's overall mass may in fact be less than the mass of the Milky Way, when dark matter is included.

Herschel, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions, sees the longer-wavelength infrared light from the galaxy, revealing its rings of cool dust. Some of this dust is the very coldest in the galaxy—only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. In this new view of the Andromeda galaxy from the Herschel space observatory, cool lanes of forming stars are revealed in the finest detail yet.

The glow seen here comes from the longer-wavelength, or far, end of the infrared spectrum, giving astronomers the chance to identify the very coldest dust in our galactic neighbor. These light wavelengths span from 250 to 500 microns, which are a quarter to half of a millimeter in size. Herschel's ability to detect the light allows astronomers to see clouds of dust at temperatures of only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. These clouds are dark and opaque at shorter wavelengths. The Herschel view also highlights spokes of dust between the concentric rings.

The colors in this image have been enhanced to make them easier to see, but they do reflect real variations in the data. The very coldest clouds are brightest in the longest wavelengths, and colored red here, while the warmer ones take on a bluish tinge.

In both views, warmer dust is highlighted in the central regions by different colors. New stars are being born in this central, crowded hub, and throughout the galaxy's rings in dusty knots. Spokes of dust can also be seen between the rings. One view, seen at www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA16682 , is a mosaic of data from Herschel's Photodetecting Array Camera and Spectrometer (PACS) and spectral and photometric imaging receiver (SPIRE).

The second view, seen at www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA16681 , shows data from only the SPIRE instrument, which captures the longest of wavelengths detectable by Herschel.

 

           PIA16681_ip

The Daily Galaxy via NASA

Image Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS & SPIRE Consortium, O. Krause, HSC, H. Linz

Comments

I can't wait for our galaxies to combine!

That gives new meaning to the $16 trillion dollar debt the US government revolves around.

If more people studied astronomy and read this site, half the crap that goes on now would never be tolerated because our intellectual horizons would be stretched wide.

Dark matter? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

The Universe is not driven by the weakest force in Nature known as "gravity" - some ten to the power of 39 times weaker than proton-proton or electron-electron repulsion, or electron-proton attraction - but by electromagnetism and plasma physics. It's an Electric Universe, maybe infinite and eternal. Gravity is probably electrical - you don't think the most massive dinosaurs could have been able to stand up, let alone walk and run or fly, in the Earth's present-day gravity and atmosphere, do you?

If the universe were driven by attraction-only gravity, it would have collapsed long ago. It most surely stands to reason that for the very big jobs, Nature would use the strongest attractive and repulsive forces at its disposal - the electric forces and fields. The Big Bang [Once upon a time that did not yet exist, there was nothing - which exploded], Black Holes, neutron stars, dark matter, dark energy, warped spacetime and other fancy gobbledygook are impossible, laughable absurdities. Without Einstein, but with a Maxwell-Lorentz ether, a gravity-driven universe would never have got off the ground.

It is about time to begin worrying and concentrating on Earth and its ever growing "Human" population, whose greatest volume of individuals is showing to be only a non thinking mass, which is extending over the planet´s surface, an arachnid explosive plague on a dog´s skin, destroying masses of plants, fauna and life in general, without any control and to no positive ends. Just procreating, eating and breathing, without conscious use of the mind, is not LIFE.


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