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THE ANDROMEDA GALAXY IN FAR-INFRARED AND X-RAYS
Explosive stars in its interior // cooler, dusty stars forming in its many rings.

The image is a combination of observations from the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory taken in far-infrared light (seen in orange hues), and the ESA’s XMM-Newton telescope captured in X-rays (seen in blues).

  • Herschel provides a detailed look at the cool clouds of star birth that line the galaxy’s five concentric rings. Massive young stars are heating blankets of dust that surround them, causing them to glow in the longer-wavelength infrared light, known as far-infrared, that Herschel sees.
  • In contrast, XMM-Newton is capturing what happens at the end of the lives of massive stars. It shows the high-energy X-rays that come from, among other objects, supernova explosions and massive dead stars rotating around companions. These X-ray sources are clustered in the center of the galaxy, where the most massive stars tend to form.

Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/SPIRE/J. Fritz, U. Gent; X-ray: ESA/XMM Newton/EPIC/W. Pietsch, MPE  |||  Image and narrative via Wikimedia

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