Structural Integrity of the Pinwheel Galaxy
The structural integrity of M101, or the Pinwheel Galaxy, is revealed in this classic image from GALEX.
Unlike our closest large galactic neighbor, the Andromeda galaxy, both young and old stars are evenly distributed along M101's tightly wound spiral arms. Blue shows the presence of hot, young stars that formed about 10 million years ago, and regions that glow yellow harbor older, cooler stars that are over 100-million years old.
M101 stretches twice the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy, and is located approximately 27 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.
This image of the Pinwheel Galaxy is a two-color composite, where far-ultraviolet light is blue, and near-ultraviolet light is red.
February 21, 2008
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