M51 from the
NOAO 0.9m at KPNO
Place mouse in the
image to see outline of the HST field.
Click on the image for a larger view.
Credit: Travis Rector
& Monica Ramirez (NOAO)
a Related Site of M51 at the NOAO Website
This image of M51 was taken with the NOAO Mosaic
CCD camera on the National Science Foundation's
0.9-meter telescope located at Kitt Peak National
Observatory near Tucson, AZ. Located in the constellation
of Canes Venatici, the "hunting dogs", M51 consists
of the large spiral galaxy NGC 5194 and its smaller
companion NGC 5195. Hot, massive stars which recently
formed in NGC 5194 give the galaxy its bluish color.
The reddish areas are nebulae in the galaxy in which
stars are rapidly forming. M51 is approximately
31 million light years away and over 65,000 light
years in diameter. The color image was generated
by combining images taken through five filters (B,
V, R, I and Ha). The full image (available by
clicking on the image at left) is only one tenth
of the entire field of view of Mosaic on the 0.9-meter
of the Heart of M51
Center of M51 in the Near-Infrared
Paschen a + F222M;
Center of M51 in the Optical
Ha + F814W (I);
The Infrared Heart of The Whirlpool Galaxy
research team, led by Nick Scoville of CalTech,
is also studying The Whirlpool Galaxy at near-infrared
wavelengths with the NICMOS instrument on the Hubble
Space Telescope. Two distinctly different looking
images of the center of M51 are displayed above,
at the same size and scale. This image pair contrasts
light that the Hubble Telescope is able to detect
in near-infrared wavelengths (taken with the NICMOS
camera) with light from optical wavelengths (taken
with the WFPC2 camera). At near-infrared wavelengths,
the dusty clouds are more transparent and the true
distribution of stars is more easily seen than in
optical images. In addition, regions of star formation
that are obscured in the optical images are newly
revealed in the near-infrared images.
Activity at the center of the galaxy in both wavelengths
indicates the possible presence of a nuclear black
hole. A close-up view of the
the central optical image appears at left.
This image was taken with the Planetary Camera chip
of the WFPC2 camera and has a scale of 2 kpc across
(1/16 the size of the above image field). The resolution
of this close-up image allows the science team to
peer right into the core of the nucleus and understand
what is going on at the very center of this galaxy.
Image Credits: N. Scoville,
M. Polletta, S. Ewald, S. Stolovy, R. Thompson,
of M51: Including Ground- and Space-based Data!
Animation Image Credits
Travis Rector & Monica Ramirez (NOAO)
Credit: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).
Acknowledgment: N. Scoville,M. Polletta,S.
Ewald,S. Stolovy, R. Thompson, M. Rieke and T. Rector.
Link to the 1994
STScI release of a Supernova in M51.