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New galaxy view a real eye-catcher

8:07 AM, Jan 30, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - A new photograph of one of the most elegant spiral galaxies in the universe, Andromeda, is turning heads in the astronomy world.

The Andromeda galaxy, also known as Messier 31, lies 2 million light-years away, and is the closest large galaxy to our own Milky Way. It is estimated to have up to one trillion stars, whereas the Milky Way contains hundreds of billions.

The photograph, taken by the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with NASA ties, shows the longer-wavelength infrared light from the galaxy, revealing its rings of cool dust. Some of the dust is the very coldest in the galaxy -- only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. 

Warmer dust is highlighted in the central regions by different colors. New stars are being born in this central, crowded hub, and throughout the galaxy's rings in dusty knots. Spokes of dust can also be seen between the rings.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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