The spiral galaxy M100 as seen with the Hubble's improved vision

An image of the grand design spiral galaxy M100 obtained with the second generation Wide Field and Planetary Camera (WFPC-2), newly installed in the Hubble Space Telescope. Though the galaxy lies several tens of millions of light-years away, modified optics incorporated within the WFPC-2 allow Hubble to view M100 with a level of clarity and sensitivity previously possible only for the very few nearby galaxies that compose our "Local Group." Just as one does not learn about the diversity of mankind by conversing only with your next door neighbor, astronomers must study many galaxies in a host of different environments if they are to come to understand how our own galaxy, out star, and our earth came to be. By expanding the region of the universe that can be studied in such detail a thousand fold, the WFPC-2 will help the Hubble Space Telescope to fulfill this mission.

One of the greateset gains of the high resolution provided by Hubble is the Ability to resolve individual stars in other galaxies. The new camera not only allows astronomers to separate stars which would have been blurred together at the resolution available from the ground, but also allows astronomets to accurately measure the light form very faint stars. The quantitative study of compositions, ages, temperatures, and other properties of stars and gas in other galaxies will provide important clues about how galaxies form and evolve.


About the Image

NASA press release
Release date:13 January 1994, 16:30
Size:924 x 865 px

About the Object

Name:IRAS 12204+1605, M 100, Messier 100, NGC 4321
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Distance:50 million light years

Image Formats

r.titleLarge JPEG
190.4 KB
r.titleScreensize JPEG
266.9 KB

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