Galaxy Pictures

by Fraser Cain on May 2, 2009

The best photographs captured from ground and the Hubble Space Telescopes. I could look at pictures of beautiful spiral galaxies all day. So let’s take a look at some of the most beautiful galaxy photos ever taken.

Spiral galaxy M101. Image credit: Hubble

Spiral galaxy M101. Image credit: Hubble

This is a classic picture of the spiral galaxy M101, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Since this galaxy is seen almost face-on, it allows astronomers to see what a large spiral galaxy, like our own Milky Way, looks like. M101 is located in the constellation of Ursa Major and measures 170,000 light-years across; twice the diameter of the Milky Way.


Andromeda Galaxy.

Andromeda Galaxy.

This is the Andromeda Galaxy, also known as M31. It’s the closest large galaxy to the Milky Way; in fact, Andromeda is currently on a collision course with the Milky Way, and will collide with us in about 10 billion years. After that, the two galaxies will collect together into an enormous irregular galaxy, and our supermassive black holes will merge together.


Andromeda galaxy photo. Image credit: Spitzer

Andromeda galaxy photo. Image credit: Spitzer

Here’s another Andromeda galaxy picture, but this time captured in the infrared spectrum by the Spitzer Space Telescope. By seeing Andromeda in infrared, astronomers can see regions that would normally be obscured by dust, like new star forming regions, or the center of the galaxy.

M81. Credit: Hubble

M81. Credit: Hubble

This is a photo of galaxy M81 captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. This is another example of a grand spiral galaxy, seen from a bit of an angle. This galaxy is located 11.6 million light-years away in the constellation Ursa Major.

Centaurus A. Image credit: NASA

Centaurus A. Image credit: NASA

Here’s a picture of the galaxy Centaurus A, located in the constellation of the same name. The huge sprays of material above and below the galaxy demonstrate the power of the supermassive black hole located at the heart of the galaxy. The jets of material extend more than 13,000 light-years away from the center of the galaxy.

If you’d like more info on galaxies, check out Hubblesite’s News Releases on Galaxies, and here’s NASA’s Science Page on Galaxies.

We have also recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast about galaxies – Episode 97: Galaxies.

About 

Fraser Cain is the publisher of Universe Today. He's also the co-host of Astronomy Cast with Dr. Pamela Gay.

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