messier-101

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The Pinwheel Galaxy by Antti Kuntsi
Via Flickr:
Messier 101 (The Pinwheel Galaxy) in Ursa Major. LRGB image shot over multiple nights during near-full moon skies rendered the 24x5min LRGB stack blue channel almost useless.

This artist’s conception shows how supermassive black holes at the cores of galaxies blast radiation and ultra-fast winds outward. New data from NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) XMM-Newton telescopes show that these winds, containing gases of highly ionized atoms, blow in a nearly spherical fashion, emanating in every direction, as shown in the artwork. 

With the shape and extent of the winds known, the researchers were able to determine the winds’ strength. The high-speed winds are powerful enough to shut down star formation throughout a galaxy.

The artwork is based on an image of the Pinwheel galaxy (Messier 101) taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

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Messier 101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy by Rüdiger
Via Flickr:
APM LZOS 130/780 + Williams Flattener / ATIK One 9.0 A LRGB made of 140min L from the ATIK and only 35min DSLR RGB with the EOS 500Da. Completely processed in PixInsight. Waited long time to add more CCD data, but weather doesn’t permit :(

The Pinwheel galaxy, officially named Messier 101, is dominated by a mish-mash of spiral arms. The Pinwheel galaxy is located about 27 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major. It has one of the highest known gradients of metals (elements heavier than helium) of all nearby galaxies in our universe. In other words, its concentrations of metals are highest at its center, and decline rapidly with distance from the center. This is because stars, which produce metals, are squeezed more tightly into the galaxy’s central quarters.

Messier 101 - The Pinwheel Galaxy

One of the last entries in the Messier Catalogue, M101 is a massive and visually stunning spiral galaxy. It was discovered in 1781 by Pierre Méchain and then confirmed by Charles Messier. M101 has shown to be a galaxy of significant star formation. Also, there appears to be a stellar mass black hole, 20 to 30 times the mass of our sun, which is consuming matter at a higher rate than our theories suggest it should!

Top: Wide-Field - Anttler

Bottom: Close-Up - ESA/Hubble