A Galaxy in Different Lights

A Galaxy in Different Lights

This side-by-side comparison shows the nearby galaxy Messier 81, which is similar to our own Milky Way, in both visible (left) and ultraviolet light (right). While visible-light images of galaxies reveal the distribution of stars, ultraviolet-light images highlight the most active, young stars. The ultraviolet image of Messier 81 shows that the galaxy's spiral arms are dotted with pockets of violent star-forming activity.

NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer is sweeping the entire sky in ultraviolet wavelengths, mapping galaxies and their star-formation rates across 10 billion years of cosmic time.

The visible-light image is from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory. The ultraviolet-light image was taken by the Galaxy Evolution Explorer.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/NOAO

Release Date

December 21, 2004

Download Options

Related Links