12 million light-years

Images from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, and Spitzer Space telescope were combined to create this spectacular view of the galaxy M82 in visible, X-ray, and infrared light. Stars are forming rapidly in the central region, at least 10 times faster than in our own Milky Way. The reason for this brisk burst of star formation is probably a close encounter with large neighbouring galaxy M81 about 100 million years ago, which would have stirred up the gas and dust.

Credit: X-ray (Chandra): NASA/CXC/JHU/D.Strickland; Optical (Hubble): NASA/ESA/STScI/AURA/The Hubble Heritage Team; IR (Spitzer): NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of AZ/C. Engelbracht

Download High Res Tif and Caption (16.7 MB)