Why So Blue? ESO Views Spiral Galaxy Messier 98

Spiral Galaxy Messier 98

This newly released image shows spiral galaxy Messier 98, which is located about 50 million light-years away.

The color blue has many associations — coldness, sadness, serenity. However, the color holds a completely different meaning for astronomers, as demonstrated by the edge-on spiral galaxy Messier 98.

Messier 98, also known as NGC 4192, is located approximately 50 million light-years away in the constellation of Coma Berenices (Berenice’s Hair). In this spectacular image from ESO’s New Technology Telescope (NTT), the galaxy’s perimeter, rippled with gas and dust, is dotted with pockets of blueish light. These are regions filled with very young stars, which are so hot that they glow with a bright blue hue. These young stars are burning at such high temperatures that they are emitting fierce radiation, burning away some of the dense material that surrounds them. In total, Messier 98 is thought to contain one trillion stars!

The NTT is a 3.58-meter telescope at the La Silla Observatory, which pioneered the use of active optics and was the first in the world to have a computer-controlled main mirror.

Credit: ESO; Acknowledgements: Flickr user jbarring

1 Comment on "Why So Blue? ESO Views Spiral Galaxy Messier 98"

  1. There are some very complicated issues of galaxy formation. Unfortunately, here is the same problem as with the stars. The origin of galaxies remains unclear, in spite of huge activity in the field. What the “formation” means? It means that we have the material that is assembling into galaxies.

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