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Velocity-coded radio image of CO gas in galaxy M82

Velocity-coded radio image of CO gas in galaxy M82

R856/0023

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Credit

DR J. GOOD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR J. GOOD / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Velocity-coded radio image at the 2.6mm wave- length of carbon monoxide of the central 2,000 light years of galaxy M82 (NGC 3034). The picture shows dense molecular clouds containing carbon monoxide gas, coded so that the colours signify gas moving towards us (increasing blue) & gas receding from us (increasing red). Studies like this have helped to confirm that M82, although it looks as if it is undergoing a massive explosion in optical pictures, is probably a normal, rotating spiral galaxy which we view edge-on & which is only slightly disturbed. The image was obtained by the Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory in the US.

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