Comparison of different views of the galaxy NGC 4303
This comparison showcases two images of NGC 4303, a spiral galaxy with a bar of stars and gas at its centre located approximately 55 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Virgo, taken at many different wavelengths of light. The observations were conducted with the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), in which ESO is a partner, as part of the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) project.
The left-hand image shows the MUSE data. The golden glows mainly correspond to clouds of ionised hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur gas, marking the presence of newly born stars, while the bluish regions in the background reveal the distribution of young stars.
On the right hand side, the MUSE image is overlaid with the radio data from ALMA (showing up in brownish-orange), revealing the cold clouds of molecular gas, stellar nurseries where new stars come to life.
By overlaying MUSE and ALMA images astronomers can examine the galactic regions where stars are forming, compared to where they are expected to form, so as to better understand what triggers, boosts or holds back the birth of new suns.
And you can try it yourself! Move the slider to try to unlock the secrets of NGC 4303 by finding out where stars are forming as expected and where they are not. Do you see any regions in the galaxy where something seems to be holding back star formation?
About the Image Comparison
|Release date:||16 July 2021, 14:00|