Pinwheel Galaxy close-ups

This composite shows six selected areas from the new Hubble image of Messier 101, the Pinwheel Galaxy. The close-ups show:

Upper left

Background galaxies far behind the Pinwheel Galaxy. The galaxies are clearly "reddened" by the dust in the Pinwheel.

Upper middle

Dust lanes in the Pinwheel galaxy. The dust particles scatter blue light the most and therefore colour the light from background stars red. The same effect is seen in sunsets on the Earth.

Upper right

A selection of some of the millions of individual stars visible in Messier 101 with Hubble's sharp vision. In total it is estimated that the Pinwheel galaxy contains about one trillion stars.

Lower left

An example of some of the 3000 bright clusters of sizzling newborn blue stars in the Pinwheel galaxy.

Lower middle

Another "grand design" spiral lies behind the Pinwheel Galaxy itself and is visible through its disk. Hubble's incredible resolution makes it possible to make out star forming regions in this distant galaxy.

Lower right

Two distant galaxies behind Messier 101 and a collection of individual foreground stars from one of its spiral arms.


Image: European Space Agency & NASA


Project Investigators for the original Hubble data: K.D. Kuntz (GSFC), F. Bresolin (University of Hawaii), J. Trauger (JPL), J. Mould (NOAO), and Y.-H. Chu (University of Illinois, Urbana)

Image processing: Davide De Martin (ESA/Hubble)

CFHT image: Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope/J.-C. Cuillandre/Coelum

NOAO image: George Jacoby, Bruce Bohannan, Mark Hanna/NOAO/AURA/NSF

About the Image

Release date:28 February 2006, 12:00
Related releases:heic0602
Size:3380 x 2288 px

About the Object

Name:Messier 101, Pinwheel Galaxy
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:23 million light years

Image Formats

Large JPEG
3.2 MB
Screensize JPEG
302.0 KB

Colours & filters

435 nm Hubble Space Telescope
555 nm Hubble Space Telescope
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope

Notes: The Hubble data for this image was superimposed over ground-based images taken with the ground-based Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT).

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