Compass and scale illustration for M101

This composit picture of the spiral galaxy M 101 uses data received from the three most advanced space telescopes and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO)

Red colors indicate emissions in the infrared observed by the Spityer Space Telescope and show the distribution of dust and gas in the galaxy along the spiral arms. Blue colors show X-ray sources observed with the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. These areas are hot and high energetic due to exploded stars, superheated gas and material falling toward black holes. Brown-beige colors finally shows the part of the galaxy which would also be visible for the human eye and composes of pictures taken by Hubble and the NOAO.

M 101, located more than 21 million light years from Earth in the constellation Ursa Majro, is a relatively large spiral galaxy compared to the Milky Way. It is noted for its high population of H II regions and its strong star fomation activity. In 2011 a Supernova was discovered. This was the fourth observed supernova in M 101 since 1907.


NASA, ESA and Z. Levay (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Release date:10 February 2009, 15:00
Size:800 x 800 px

About the Object

Name:Messier 101, NGC 4547, Pinwheel
Type:• Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
• X - Galaxies Images/Videos
Distance:22 light years

Image Formats

Fullsize Original
174.5 KB
Large JPEG
210.1 KB
Screensize JPEG
337.5 KB

Colours & filters

Hard X-ray
435 nm Hubble Space Telescope
8.0 μm Spitzer Space Telescope

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