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Galaxies

Barred Galaxy NGC 253

As each slider bar is manipulated, the view transitions from visible light to mid infrared light to near infrared light. In visible light: Dust and bright stars confuse the view in visible light. In mid infrared light: The base population of stars reveal the spiral arms and central bar. In near infrared light: Dust lanes along the spiral arms glow in the mid-infrared. As each slider bar is manipulated, the view transitions from visible light to mid infrared light to near infrared light. In visible light: Dust and bright stars confuse the view in visible light. In mid infrared light: The base population of stars reveal the spiral arms and central bar. In near infrared light: Dust lanes along the spiral arms glow in the mid-infrared. As each slider bar is manipulated, the view transitions from visible light to mid infrared light to near infrared light. In visible light: Dust and bright stars confuse the view in visible light. In mid infrared light: The base population of stars reveal the spiral arms and central bar. In near infrared light: Dust lanes along the spiral arms glow in the mid-infrared.
Visible: Default View

Mid Infrared:
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Near Infrared:
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Barred Galaxy NGC 253

Infrared light can be critical for viewing the underlying structure of a galaxy. In NGC 253, the visible-light view is complicated by the viewing angle, dark dust clouds, and scatterings of massive stars. Switching to the near-infrared lets us see the full population of stars more clearly, revealing a bar running through the center of the galaxy. Including mid-infrared also brings out the dust lanes clearly, and even highlights the areas where stars are forming vigorously, particularly in the galaxy's center.
Visible: Dust and bright stars confuse the view in visible light.
Mid Infrared: The base population of stars reveal the spiral arms and central bar.
Near Infrared: Dust lanes along the spiral arms glow in the mid-infrared.
CREDITS: Visible: ESO. Near-infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA. Mid-infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA.