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Published:June 5th, 2007 08:29 EST
Pretty in Pink: M81 Galaxy

Pretty in Pink: M81 Galaxy

By SOP newswire

The perfectly picturesque spiral galaxy known as Messier 81, or M81, looks sharp in this new composite from NASA`s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes and NASA`s Galaxy Evolution Explorer. M81 is a "grand design" spiral galaxy, which means its elegant arms curl all the way down into its center. It is located about 12 million light-years away in the Ursa Major constellation and is one of the brightest galaxies that can be seen from Earth through telescopes.

The colors in this picture represent a trio of light wavelengths: blue is ultraviolet light captured by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer; yellowish white is visible light seen by Hubble; and red is infrared light detected by Spitzer. The blue areas show the hottest, youngest stars, while the reddish-pink denotes lanes of dust that line the spiral arms. The orange center is made up of older stars.

Source:JPL and NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/Harvard-Smithsonian CfA