Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Whirlpool

This image has been produced by Alex Terris, by data gathered from the Mons telescope in Izana, Tenerife during an astronomy field-trip.

There are two galaxies in the image which are interacting. The larger one is M51. They are probably merging. Alex's team took four images using different filters and then combined them all to get this colour image.

The bluer bits show areas where star formation is taking place in the spiral arms. These areas are blue because there are young, massive stars which are hotter and therefore bluer.

In physics blue is hotter than red! Just like your bunsen burner - the hotter part of the flame is the blue part.

The other students in the team who worked on obtaining the images were: H
annah Calcutt, James Pettler and Claire longbottom - assisted by project supervisor Dr Andrea Dieball.

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