The Whirlpool Galaxy Like You’ve Never Seen it Before | astrobites

The Whirlpool Galaxy Like You’ve Never Seen it Before | astrobites:

"This paper presents a detailed study of the gas in M51, the Whirlpool galaxy. This system is actually two galaxies, but this paper focuses on the larger, main spiral (NGC 5194) in this interacting pair. This galaxy is relatively close by (20 million light years away),  massive (~150 billion solar masses), and quite well-studied: astronomers have looked at it in wavelengths from radio to near-infrared, optical and ultraviolet.  The combined resolution and sensitivity of these new millimeter observations (the J=1-0 rotational transition of the carbon monoxide molecule) allow the authors to detect for the first time individual molecular clouds in this galaxy, the objects from which stars and star clusters are born. Below is an image of M51 from this study showing the gas surface density (the amount of gas along our line of sight) from small amounts (dark blue) to large amounts (bright pink), all representing the fuel required to make the next generation of stars in this galaxy."

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