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Here’s this week’s Where In The Universe Challenge. You know what to do: take a look at this image and see if you can determine where in the universe this image is from; give yourself extra points if you can name the telescope or spacecraft responsible for the image. We’ll provide the image today, but won’t reveal the answer until tomorrow. This gives you a chance to mull over the image and provide your answer/guess in the comment section. Please, no links or extensive explanations of what you think this is — give everyone the chance to guess.
UPDATE: The answer has now been posted below.
This is galaxy M106 (a.k.a. NGC 4258) with its two mysterious and ghostly spiral arms. The image is a team effort: the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Spitzer Space Telescope, the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray observatory, and older visible data from the Hubble Space Telescope.
M106 is about 23.5 million light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici. The arms have been a mystery: in visible-light images, two prominent arms spiral outward from the bright nucleus and are dominated by young, bright stars, which light up the gas within the arms. But in radio and X-ray images, two additional spiral arms show up, appearing as ghostly apparitions between the main arms. These so-called “anomalous arms” consist mostly of gas. This composite image, and work done by an international team of astronomers, confirmed earlier suspicions that the ghostly arms represent regions of gas that are being violently heated by shock waves.