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Astronomy Research Overview Interactive
The View Through the Telescope - Images from NSF Observatories

This interactive allows users to view a series of images from NSF-funded observatories. Following are descriptions of the available images:

1. This color-coded picture of the disturbed galaxy M82 shows an edge-on view of the galaxy's disk, which harbors an intense burst of active star formation, together with a perpendicular supergalactic wind of ionized gas being driven outward by the energy of the starburst. The picture combines data from the Hubble Space Telescope with data from the WIYN telescope on Kitt Peak. Astronomical image credit: Mark Westmoquette, University College London; Jay Gallagher, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Linda Smith, University College London; WIYN/NSF, NASA/ESA. Telescope image credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

2. Astronomers used this false-color image from the Blanco 4-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile to discover Herbig-Haro 666: an extremely large jet of ionized gas in the Carina Nebula. As shown in this image version with labels, the jet streams out at speeds up to 500,000 mph along the polar axis of a very young star hidden deep inside the nebula. Astronomical image credit: Nathan Smith, John Bally, University of Colorado; NOAO. Telescope image credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

3. The galaxy M81 has long been famous for its beautifully symmetric spiral arms, which are outlined in visible-light images by multitudes of bright young stars. But this false-color radio image taken by the Very Large Array in New Mexico shows not the stars themselves, but the cold atomic hydrogen gas that gives birth to stars. Clearly, M81's future generations will follow much the same "grand design" spiral pattern that their predecessors did. Astronomical image credit: NRAO Telescope image credit: NRAO/AUI

4. [Sunspot] Astronomical image credit: T.Rimmele, NSO; M.Hanna, NOAO/AURA/NSF Telescope image credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

5. This radio image from the Very Large Array shows a system of back-to-back jets and plumes some 300,000 light years across, or roughly ten times the diameter of our own galaxy. The bright spot in the center is thought to mark the location of a super-massive black hole that is sweeping up material from a surrounding host galaxy (not shown in this image). The jets, in turn, are thought to be streams of high-energy particles that have somehow drawn energy from the inward-falling material, and are now shooting outward at nearly the speed of light. Astronomical image credit: Alan Bridle, Jacob Callcut, Ed Fomalont Telescope image credit: NRAO/AUI

6. The Gemini North Telescope on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, obtained this image of the beautiful spiral galaxy NGC 628 (also known as Messier 74) on the night of August 13-14, 2001. If we could see our own Milky Way galaxy from the outside, it would probably look very much like this one. Astronomical image credit: Gemini Observatory. Telescope image credit: © 1999 Neelon Crawford, Polar Fine Arts, courtesy of Gemini Observatory and National Science Foundation.

7. This radio image from the Very Large Array shows some of the turmoil prevailing at the core of our Milky Way galaxy-a remarkably complex and dynamic region that is constantly being churned by magnetic fields, shock waves, and explosions. At the center of it all, in the bright blob labeled Sagittarius A, there lurks a super-massive black hole millions of times more massive than our own sun. Astronomical image credit: NOAO. Telescope image credit: NRAO/AUI

8. This image from Gemini South Telescope in Chile depicts a distant group of galaxies with the kind of detail that was previously seen only from space. A striking comparison with the Hubble Space Telescope's image of these galaxies can be viewed at http://www.gemini.edu/media/images_2003-3.html. Astronomical image credit: Gemini Observatory. Telescope image credit: Gemini Observatory

9. This radar image of the Orientale basin, on the western edge of the moon, was produced by transmitting a radar signal from the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, and receiving echoes from the Moon at the Greenbank Telescope in West Virginia. Since the radar signals which will penetrate several meters into the lunar soil before bouncing back, scientists can use images like this one to study the properties of the Moon's dusty surface layer, or regolith. Astronomical image credit: NRAO and Bruce Campbell, Smithsonian Institution. Telescope image credit: NRAO/AUI

10. This wide-field image of the Eagle Nebula was taken at the NSF's 0.9-meter telescope on Kitt Peak. The three columns at the center are the "Pillars of Creation" made famous in an image by the Hubble Space Telescope; they are actually knots of interstellar dust and gas being sculpted by the intense radiation from hot, newborn stars. Astronomical image credit: T.A. Rector, NRAO/AUI/NSF and NOAO/AURA/NSF; B.A.Wolpa, NOAO/AURA/NSF Telescope image credit: NOAO/AURA/NSF

11. This false color image from the Very Large Array shows high-energy jets of particles emerging from the hyperluminous radio galaxy Cygnus A. Astronomical image credit: NRAO. Telescope image credit: NRAO/AUI. Photograph by Kelly Gatlin. Digital composite by Patricia Smiley