From the Chandra X-ray Observatory
M82, at a distance of 11 million light years from the Earth, is the nearest starburst galaxy. Massive stars are forming and expiring in M82 at a rate 10 times greater than in our Milky Way Galaxy. The bright spots in the center are supernova remnants and X-ray binaries. These are some of the brightest such objects known. The luminosity of the X-ray binaries suggests that most contain a black hole. The diffuse X-ray light in the image extends over several thousand light years, and is caused by multimillion-degree gas flowing out of M82. A close encounter with a large galaxy, M81, in the last 100 million years is thought to be the cause of the starburst activity. This image was made with the Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS).
Image Title: Chandra X-ray Image of M82
Text based on press release
Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/PSU/G. Garmire, R. Griffiths (CMU)
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Last Modified On: Saturday, December 16, 2000