Infrared Universe: Cigar Galaxy (M82)

Messier 82 (M82), or the Cigar Galaxy, is an edge-on spiral undergoing a massive burst of star formation in its core. Many thousands of stars, and their surrounding gas and dust, have been stirred up. These stars are expelling violent winds that are blowing gas and dust out of the galaxy. The only hint of this in visible light are fountains of hot hydrogen gas streaming out of its disk. In infrared, the burst becomes clearer as we see massive amounts of dust also blowing out of the center.

Optical: In visible light the edge-on disk highlights the geysers of hot gas shooting out of M82’s core.

Infrared: Infrared light lets us see this galaxy’s full disk of stars and reveals volumes of dust (shown in red) carried along with the hot gas.

X-ray: Chandra’s X-ray image reveals gas that has been heated to millions of degrees by the violent outflow.



Frame SetsGalaxiesHubble TelescopeInfrared UniverseScientific VisualizationsSpitzerStarburst Galaxies


Optical: NASAESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA). Acknowledgment: J. Gallagher (University of Wisconsin), M. Mountain (STScI), and P. Puxley (NSF); Infrared: NASA, JPL-Caltech, C. Engelbracht (University of Arizona); X-ray: NASA, CXC, JHU, D.Strickland.

Publication: October 15, 2018

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