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Description The spiral arms of the nearby galaxy Messier 81 are highlighted in this NASA Spitzer Space Telescope image. Located in the northern constellation of Ursa Major (which also includes the Big Dipper), this galaxy is easily visible through binoculars or a small telescope. M81 is located at a distance of 12 million light-years. Because of its proximity, M81 provides astronomers with an enticing opportunity to study the anatomy of a spiral galaxy in detail. The unprecedented spatial resolution and sensitivity of Spitzer at infrared wavelengths show a clear separation between the several key constituents of the galaxy: the old stars, the interstellar dust heated by star formation activity, and the embedded sites of massive star formation. The infrared images also permit quantitative measurements of the galaxy's overall dust content, as well as the rate at which new stars are being formed.
Date 6 November 2003(2003-11-06)
Source http://www.spitzer.caltech.edu/Media/releases/ssc2003-06/ssc2003-06c.shtml (TIFF image)
Author NASA/JPL-Caltech/S. Willner (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
(Reusing this file)
Public domain This file is in the public domain because it was created by NASA. NASA copyright policy states that "NASA material is not protected by copyright unless noted". (See Template:PD-USGov, NASA copyright policy page or JPL Image Use Policy.)


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