Sunday, February 3, 2013

Andromeda Galaxy


Two new eye-catching views from the Herschel space observatory are fit for a princess. They show the elegant spiral galaxy Andromeda, named after the mythical Greek princess known for her beauty. 

The Andromeda galaxy, 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…
(images: ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/NHSC)


No comments:

Post a Comment