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ALMA image of carbon monoxide in nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253

A 3D view of ALMA imaging of carbon monoxide in nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253


A 3D view of Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) imaging of carbon monoxide (CO) in nearby starburst galaxy NGC 253. Colors correspond to the intensity of emission -- and therefore the amount of CO -- from red (faint) to purple (bright). Scientists can't perceive the true 3D shape of the gas clouds because the galaxy is so far away so instead, this image uses the velocity of the molecular gas as the third dimension (shown here in the vertical direction). This additional velocity "dimension" allows astronomers to separate the molecular emission into distinct parts, which reveals the presence of a wind in the molecular gas.

ALMA is a facility of the National Science Foundation (NSF). The research was supported by NSF grants AST 09-55836 and AST 11-39998.

Learn more in the NSF News From the Field Story Starburst wind keeps galaxies 'thin.' (Date image taken: August 2013; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Aug. 20, 2019)

Credit: Erik Rosolowsky/University of Alberta

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