NASA’s Hubble Telescope peers into the majestic Whirlpool Galaxy by flexing its starry arms

The gracefully curved arms of the majestic spiral galaxy, called “M51”, resemble a huge spiral staircase leading you to the very heart of space. But these weapons are actually long lanes of stars and gas intertwined with dust. These strikingly beautiful arms are a signature of the so-called “spiral galaxies of grand design”.

(Photo: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and the Hubble Heritage team (STScI/AURA))

star factories

Posted by NASA on their Tumblr Pagethe M51 or the Whirlpool galaxy wields majestic arms that have a very significant value: they are star factories, involving the compression of hydrogen gas and the generation of a million new stars.

The image was captured by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope in visible light with its Advanced Survey Camera. True to its moniker, the Whirlpool Galaxy exhibits the characteristics of a typical galaxy with its pink star forming regions, dazzling blue strands of star clusters and, of course, its shimmering curved arms!

Several astronomers believe that the curved arms of the Whirlpool are particularly prominent due to the effects of close interaction with NGC 5195, which is a small yellowish galaxy located at the outermost end of one of M51’s arms.

This compact galaxy seems to be tugging on the arm. In turn, tidal forces collide to activate the formation of new stars. The Hubble Telescope provides a clear view of the galaxy showing NGC 5195 lagging behind M51.

It should be noted that this small galaxy also glided past the Whirlpool for hundreds of millions of years, according to NASA Statement.

This beautiful Hubble image of M51 displays the red like infrared light and also the hydrogen found in large star forming regions. While blue hues represent hot, newly born stars, and yellow colors are attributed to older stars.

The galaxy was discovered by Charles Messier in 1773. M51 is located 31 million light-years from the vicinity of planet Earth and is in the constellation Canes Venatici. M51 has an apparent magnitude of 8.4 and can be found in a small telescope more visibly during the month of May.

Such close proximity to the fascinating front view of the Whirlpool Galaxy on our planet gives astronomers the opportunity to learn more about the structure of a classic spiral galaxy and how it forms millions of stars in its regions. .

As of now, the Hubble Space Telescope has launched its #GalaxiesGalore, where anyone can enjoy more galaxy content and new space imagery by following the hashtag on Hubble’s Twitter, Facebookand instagram.

Also read: NASA’s Hubble Telescope takes another step in solving the mystery of the universe’s expansion rate

A two-sided spiral galaxy

Interestingly, there’s more to this Whirlpool galaxy than meets the eye.

The Hubble Space Telescope captured two starkly distinct faces of the spiral galaxy with this photo.

(Photo: NASA, ESA, M. Regan and B. Whitmore (STScI), R. Chandar (University of Toledo), S. Beckwith (STScI), and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA))

The photo on the left was taken in visible light, showing all the characteristics of a typical spiral galaxy with its curved arms, pink star forming regions and blue star cluster strands. This heavenly image contrasts sharply with the photo on the right, which looks like a raging fireball.

The other side of M51 reveals its skeletal dust structure, which is captured in near-infrared and remains the sharpest view of dense dust in the Whirlpool Galaxy. These images were presented at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Seattle, Wash in January 2011.

Related Article: NASA’s Hubble Telescope Reveals a Dazzling Slice of the Universe Called ‘Little Sombrero’

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Written by Joaquin Victor Tacla

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