The Evolving Universe

Smithsonian Institution

Galaxy M82

M82 image


Observers: Dave Strickland; Matt Mountain, Hubble Heritage Team; C. Engelbracht, R. Kenniart

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Star formation has gone wild in the central region of M82. Massive young stars race through their evolution to explode as supernovae. Galaxy M82 averages a supernova every 10 years - many more than a typical galaxy. These explosions eject newly formed carbon and oxygen in the form of cold (red) and hot (blue) gas from the galaxy (green and orange) at millions of kilometers per hour.

  • Distance from Earth: 11 million light years
  • Size: 370,000 light years
  • Telescope: Chandra,Hubble,Spitzer
  • Light: X-ray (blue), IR (red), VIsible (green, orange)