IYL 2015 Images

  • bullet

    Bullet Cluster 3.8 billion light years

    This image of two colliding clusters of galaxies is a special snapshot that contains X-ray light, visible light, and the inferred presence of dark matter, the mysterious substance that pervades the Universe. The pink areas are where hot, X-ray emitting gas is found. The bending of light from distant background galaxies by the massive clusters shows astronomers the location of unseen dark matter. The combined image shows that hot gas has been ripped apart from the dark matter by the force of this colossal collision. Therefore, even though it does not emit light itself, dark matter gives clues about itself by the effect it has on light from cosmic sources.
    Image Credit: X-ray: M.Markevitch for NASA/CXC/CfA and visible light by D. Clowe for NASA/STScI; Magellan/U. Arizona and ESO
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • archives_herca_720

    Hercules A About 1.9 billion light years

    Some galaxies are extremely bright in different wavelengths of light. This is because their centers contain a supermassive black hole that is pulling in matter at a prodigious rate. In visible light (colored red, green and blue, with bright galaxies appearing white), Hercules A looks like a typical elliptical galaxy. In X-ray light, however, a giant cloud of multimillion-degree gas (shown in purple) is detected. This gas has been heated by energy generated by the infall of matter into the black hole at the center of Hercules A that is over 1,000 times as massive as the one in the middle of the Milky Way. Radio data (in blue) show jets of particles streaming away from the black hole, spanning a length of almost one million light years.
    Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO, Optical: NASA/STScI, Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • antennae

    Antennae Galaxies 62 million light years

    The Antennae are two galaxies in the process of merging. They were once spiral galaxies like our Milky Way, but they have been interacting and colliding for hundreds of millions of years and are morphing into a new object. Infrared and visible light captured in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope give us clues about the cosmic chaos going on. Clouds of gas are shown in pink and red, while the cores of the galaxies, where some of the older stars remain, are yellow. The blue-colored points and regions are where star formation, triggered by the galactic collisions, are happening at a furious rate. Astronomers think this light-filled cosmic postcard is a preview of what will happen to our Galaxy when the Milky Way and its neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy, collide in a few billion years.
    Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage Team (STSCI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • ngc_602

    NGC 602 180,000 light years

    This galaxy is so bright in the southern night sky that navigators for centuries have used it to help guide them across the ocean. Modern telescopes reveal there is much more to this object than just being a bright prick of light seen from sea. This image combines three different types of light to give us this spectacular view of this neighboring galaxy to the Milky Way. In this view of the so-called Small Magellanic Cloud (named after Ferdinand Magellan), X-ray light is purple, infrared light is red, and optical light is red, green, and blue. Together, these different slices of light give us a more complete picture of a stellar nursery where stars like our Sun are being born.
    Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. Potsdam/L. Oskinova et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html

  • galactic

    Our Galaxy in Many Kinds of Light 26,000 light years

    Light takes on many forms—from radio to infrared to X-rays and more. And the Universe tells its story through all of these different types of radiation. So, in order to really understand the cosmos, astronomers need many different kinds of telescopes. This image of the center of our Milky Way galaxy combines data from three NASA observatories. X-rays from the Chandra X-ray Observatory are blue and violet, near-infrared emission from Hubble is yellow, and the Spitzer Space Telescope infrared data are red. Observations using infrared light and X-ray light see through the obscuring dust to reveal the intense activity near the galactic core. Near-infrared emission outlines the energetic regions where stars are being born as well as reveal hundreds of thousands of stars.
    Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/D. Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/ESA/STScI/D.Wang et al.; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC/S.Stolovy
    view and download image here. http://lightexhibit.org/photoindex.html