New Images of Andromeda Galaxy Released

Astronomers using ESA’s Herschel Space Observatory have captured two new views of the Andromeda Galaxy.

This new image from the Herschel Space Observatory shows the ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy. 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. 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 (ESA / NASA / JPL-Caltech / NHSC)

The Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31, is located about 2.4 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Andromeda.

It is the largest galaxy in the Local Group, which also contains our own Milky Way Galaxy and more than 50 other galaxies.

The Herschel 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.

The first image, seen above, shows data from only the SPIRE instrument, which captures the longest of wavelengths detectable by Herschel.

The second image, seen below, is a mosaic of data from Herschel’s Photodetecting Array Camera and Spectrometer and spectral and photometric imaging receiver.

This image of the Andromeda galaxy from the Herschel space observatory reveals cool lanes of forming stars (ESA / Herschel / PACS & SPIRE Consortium / O. Krause / HSC / H. Linz)

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.



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