Shedding New Light on the Whirlpool Galaxy

The Whirlpool Galaxy is a magnificent spiral galaxy that has been studied across the spectrum by NASA’s Great Observatories. This remarkable video uses two dimensional images and three dimensional visualizations to contrast and compare the different views of infrared (Spitzer Space Telescope), visible (Hubble Space Telescope), and X-ray (Chandra X-ray Observatory) observations. Within these spectral bands, each wavelength region illustrates a different component of the stars, gas, and dust that comprise the galaxy. By both separating and combining seven multiwavelength views, astronomers gain a broader and richer look into the detailed structure of a spiral galaxy.

Run time: 3 minutes 5 seconds

Visualization: Frank Summers, Joseph DePasquale, Dani Player (STScI),
Kim Arcand (SAO/CXC), Robert Hurt (Caltech/IPAC)

Music: “Cylinder Five”, Chris Zabriskie, CC BY 4.0

Acknowledgement: NASA’s Universe of Learning