Purple haze

This Picture of the Week showcases the impressive NGC 3627 galaxy, also known as Messier 66, located approximately 31 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Leo. The image was taken with the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. But why does it have these unusual colours?

This image is a combination of observations conducted in different wavelengths of light. But rather than seeing the stars in this galaxy, as in more classical images, what this image displays is gas ionised by newly-born stars, with hydrogen, oxygen and sulphur shown in red, blue and orange respectively. 

The image was taken as part of the Physics at High Angular resolution in Nearby GalaxieS (PHANGS) project, which is using telescopes operating across all wavelengths to make high-resolution observations of nearby galaxies. The goal of the project is to better understand what triggers, boosts or holds back the formation of new stars in different environments.

Credit:

ESO/PHANGS

About the Image

Id:potw2218a
Type:Observation
Release date:2 May 2022, 06:00
Size:1175 x 579 px

About the Object

Name:Messier 66, NGC 3627
Type:Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Spiral
Local Universe : Galaxy : Type : Barred
Distance:30 million light years
Constellation:Leo
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
211.5 KB
Screensize JPEG
132.2 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
223.9 KB
1280x1024
322.2 KB
1600x1200
426.2 KB
1920x1200
494.4 KB
2048x1536
604.6 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):11 20 15.30
Position (Dec):12° 58' 52.93"
Field of view:3.91 x 1.93 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 90.0° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
OIII
499 nmVery Large Telescope
MUSE
Optical
H-alpha
656 nmVery Large Telescope
MUSE
Optical
SII
673 nmVery Large Telescope
MUSE