The Supergalactic Wind
June 1, 2004
Star formation occurs at a faster pace in M82 -- a galaxy with about ten times the rate of massive star birth (and death) compared to our Milky Way. Winds from massive stars and blasts from supernova explosions have created a billowing cloud of expanding gas from this remarkable starburst galaxy. The above scientifically color-coded image highlights the complexity and origin of the plume by combining a wide field image from the WIYN Telescope in Arizona with a smaller high-resolution image from the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope. M82's aspect in optical pictures has led to its popular moniker, the Cigar Galaxy. M82's burst of star formation was likely triggered a mere 100 million years ago in the latest of a series of bouts with neighboring large galaxy M81.
Topics: M81 Group, Ursa Major constellation, Spiral galaxies, Arizona, Technology Internet, Blue blobs, Starburst galaxies, Irregular galaxies, Messier 82, Messier 81, Intermediate-mass black hole, Supernova, Galaxy, Milky Way