23 million light-years

The galaxy Messier 101 (M101) is a swirling spiral of stars, gas, and dust whose diameter is nearly twice that of our Milky Way galaxy. This composite from three of NASA's orbiting telescopes shows it in all of its glory. Infrared data from Spitzer (red) reveals the galaxy's delicate dust lanes. In Hubble's visible light image (yellow), the bright clumps are regions where new stars have formed, while the core consists mainly of old stars. Meanwhile, X-rays from Chandra show the remains of exploded stars and million-degree gas that permeates the galaxy.

Credit: X-ray: NASA / CXC / JHU / K.Kuntz et al; Optical: NASA / STScI; Infrared: NASA / JPL-Caltech.

Listen in English