Archive for July, 2008

Messier Marathon 2008

July 24, 2008

The results of the Messier Marathon 2008 are available at:

Please contribute results!

The Messier Marathon 2008 webpage is at

Messier Marathon Home:


M81 and its group: New images

July 24, 2008

[M81 composite, CXO/HST/SST/GALEX]

This composite NASA image of the spiral galaxy M81, located about 12 million light years away, includes X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue), optical data from the Hubble Space Telescope (green), infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope (pink) and ultraviolet data from GALEX (purple). The inset shows a close-up of the Chandra image. The object at the center of M81 is considered to be a supermassive black hole that is about 70 million times more massive than the Sun.

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Wisconsin/D.Pooley & CfA/A.Zezas; Optical: NASA/ESA/CfA/A.Zezas; UV: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA/J.Huchra et al.; IR: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CfA

Chandra Press Release, June 18, 2008:

[M81 group, HST]

Nasa’s Hubble Space Telescope, as well as GALEX, were used to obtain deep images from the M81 group, and imaged a number of faint blue blobs, actually large young star clusters. These are aligned along bridges of matter between the galaxies M81, M82 and NGC 3077, and nicknamed Arp¬ís Loop.

Credit: NASA, ESA, and D. de Mello (Catholic University of America/GSFC)

STScI Press Release, January 8, 2008:

[M81 group, VLA]

Radio astronomers using the NRAO’s Very Large Array (VLA) of radi antennae have found a number of faint, hitherto unknown hydrogen clouds
in the M81 group.

NRAO Press Release, January 10, 2008:

SEDS M81 page:

M82: X-ray view by XMM-Newton

July 24, 2008

[M82 in X-rays, XMM-Newton]

M82 was captured in X-rays by a telesope on ESA’s XMM-Newton satellite, featuring its powerful outflow. M82 is actively forming stars, and exhibits a several kpc large outflow, made up of very hot gas produced by supernova explosions. The image has been produced from EPIC data; the colours indicate the energy of the X-rays (red: 0.4-1 keV; green: 1-2 keV; blue: 2-8 keV). The central regions of the galaxy appear blueish because of heavy absorption.

Credit: P. Ranalli, A. Comastri, L. Origlia, R. Maiolino and ESA.

XMM Newton image:

SEDS M82 page:

M83: New GALEX and VLA images

July 24, 2008

[M83, UV-radio composite]

Nasa’s GALEX UV satellite and the NRAO’s Very Large Array (VLA) radio telescope have been used to create new images of the conspicuous Southern Pinwheel spiral galaxy, M83, and found newly formed stars in far outlying spiral arms.

GALEX Press Release (April 16, 2008):

SEDS M83 page:

M106: New GALEX image

July 24, 2008

[M106 in UV, GALEX]

The conspicuous spiral galaxy M106 was imaged with an UV telescope on Nasa’s GALEX satellite. This image is a two-color composite, where far-ultraviolet light is blue, and near-ultraviolet light is red.

GALEX Feature Story (April 16, 2008):

SEDS M106 page:

M31 and M101: GALEX images

July 24, 2008

[M31 in UV, GALEX] [M101 in UV, GALEX]

Nasa’s GALEX UV telescope satellite has imaged two famous spiral galaxies, the Andromeda Galaxy M31 and the Pinwheel Galaxy M101. These images are in false color, 2-color composite: far-UV displayed in blue, near-UV in red.

GALEX Feature Story (February 21, 2008):
M31 image:
M101 image:

SEDS M31 page:
SEDS M101 page:

M101: Spitzer finds “No-organic” Zone

July 23, 2008

[M101 in IR, SST]

Spitzer Space Telescope was used to obtain this gorgeous false-color IR image of M101. Astronomers have found from these data that some special organic molecules, so-called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, decrease in concentration toward the outer portion of the Pinwheel galaxy, and then quickly drop off and are no longer detected at its very outer rim.

Spitzer Press Release:

M4: Chandra locates X-ray sources and binaries

July 17, 2008

[M4 in X-rays, CXO]

Globular clusters M4 and NGC 6397 have got their central parts imaged by Chandra X-ray Observatory, among a total of 13 Milky Way Globular Clusters. Astronomers found that contrary to expectation, denser M4, with its higher rate of stellar encounters, has less binaries and hot X-ray sources than less dense NGC 6397.

Credit: NASA/CXC/Northwestern Univ/John Fregeau

Chandra image:

Chandra Press Release (April 28, 2008):

SEDS M4 page:

M60: New Chandra Image gives mass of central object

July 17, 2008

[M60, x-ray/optical composite, CXO/HST]

Data obtained with the Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO) have been used to create this image of the Virgo Cluster giant elliptical galaxy M60 (NGC 4649), and to estimate the mass of the central object of this galaxy. This object, thought by many astronomers to be a supermassive black hole, was found to have a mass 3.4 billion times that of the Sun, or about 1,000 times more than the object in the Milky Way’s center.

Credit: X-ray (NASA/CXC/Univ. of California Irvine/P.Humphrey et al.); Optical (NASA/STScI)

Chandra Image:

Chandra Press Release:

SEDS M60 page:

Recent Images and News of Messier Objects

July 15, 2008

M4 (and NGC 6397) from Chandra; April 28, 2008:

M31 and M101 by Galex, February 21, 2008:

M81 from Chandra; June 18, 2008:

M81 group (in particular, Arp’s Loop), from Hubble; January 8, 2008:

M81 group with radio clouds, from NRAO; January 10, 2008:

M82 in X-rays by XMM Newton:

M83 by Galex; April 16, 2008:

M106 by Galex; April 28, 2008:

Various THINGS galaxies, including M51, M63, M74, M81 and several M81 group dwarfs, by NRAO; January 10, 2008: