A Supergalactic Wind

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Sorry – must’ve been that lentil dahl.

Behold: Messier 82, aka the Cigar Galaxy, smoking away like it had some kind of infinite gas reservoir – fooling no one but itself. To wit:

M82, as this starburst galaxy is also known, was stirred up by a recent pass near large spiral galaxy M81. This doesn’t fully explain the source of the red-glowing outwardly expanding gas and dust, however. Evidence indicates that this gas and dust is being driven out by the combined emerging particle winds of many stars, together creating a galactic superwind. The dust particles are thought to originate in M82’s interstellar medium and are actually similar in size to particles in cigar smoke. The featured photographic mosaic highlights a specific colour of red light strongly emitted by ionised hydrogen gas, showing detailed filaments of this gas and dust. The filaments extend for over 10,000 light years. The 12-million light-year distant Cigar Galaxy is the brightest galaxy in the sky in infrared light, and can be seen in visible light with a small telescope towards the constellation of the Great Bear (Ursa Major).

(ImageNASAESAHubbleDaniel Nobre)

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5 thoughts on “A Supergalactic Wind

  1. Slightly Bemused

    M82 was one of the first galaxies I looked at with my own telescope, many moons ago. Nothing like so clear as this, but there is a certain thrilling joy to looking at the heavens with ones own eye through a lens, rather than on a screen.

    Once again, thanks for the beautiful picture.

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