Galactic Chimneys Rising Above NGC 2841

NGC 2841. Image credit: NASA. Click to enlargeThis photograph of spiral galaxy NGC 2841 was taken by the Chandra X-Ray observatory. It shows gasses millions of degrees hot rising above the disk of stars and cooler gas. This superheated gas is created by giant stars and supernovae explosions which blow huge bubbles of gas above the disk like smoke rising from chimneys.

This X-ray/optical composite image of the large spiral galaxy NGC 2841 shows multimillion degree gas (blue/X-ray) rising above the disk of stars and cooler gas (gray/optical).

The rapid outflows of gas from giant stars, and supernova explosions in the disk of a galaxy create huge shells or bubbles of hot gas that expand rapidly and rise above the disk like plumes of smoke from a chimney. Chandra’s image of NGC 2841 provides direct evidence for this process, which pumps energy into the thin gaseous halo that surrounds the galaxy. Galactic chimneys also spread hot, metal enriched gas away from the disk of the galaxy into the halo.

Chandra X-ray Observatory