Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Amazing photograph of Galaxy Messier 94 (NGC 4736)

This is an image of the galaxy Messier 94, also known as NGC 4736. This image was captured in infrared light by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Historically, Messier 94 was considered to have two strikingly different rings: a brilliant, compact band encircling the galaxy's core, and a faint, broad, swath of stars falling outside its main disk. Astronomers have recently discovered that the outer ring, seen here in the deep blue glow of starlight, might actually be more of an optical illusion. The bright inner ring of Messier 94 is very real, however. This area is sometimes identified as a "starburst ring" because of the frenetic pace of star formation in the confined area.

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