The Andromeda Galaxy is a couple of million light-years away, and it’s the farthest thing that can be seen with the naked eye. The picture above is what it might look like if our eyes responded to infrared and radio wavelengths. It was assembled using data from the ESA Herschel and Planck satellites and NASA’s Infrared Astronomy Survey and Cosmic Background Explorer, supplemented with ground-based data from the Green Bank, WRST, and IRAM radio telescopes.

Image Credits: ESA / NASA / NASA-JPL / Caltech / Christopher Clark (STScI) / R. Braun (SKA Observatory) / C. Nieten (MPI Radioastronomie) / Matt Smith (Cardiff University)

Two Views of M83

This video fades between views of Messier 83 in visible light and infrared images captured at European Southern Observatory’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. The dust that obscures many stars becomes nearly transparent in the infrared image. That image may seem less dramatic, but it shows a swarm of new stars that are otherwise invisible.

Video Credit: ESO / M. Gieles
Acknowledgement: Mischa Schirmer

Spitzer’s Coming Retirement

This video takes a VR look at the Spitzer Space Telescope. Spitzer is one of NASA’s Great Observatories, and it will be ending its mission at the end of January, 2020. This video covers Spitzer’s 16+ year mission, showing how Spitzer observes the universe and some of the limitations and challenges faced by space-based observatories.

Use the widget in the upper left to pan and tilt your point of view.

Video Credit: NASA

Multi-Wavelength Astronomy

These four images show the Whirlpool Galaxy (aka M51) in different wavelengths of light.

View A uses visible light data from the 2.1-m telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory. View B combines two visible light wavelengths, 400 nm (blue) and 700 nm (green) with infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. The IR data is shown in red.

Views C and D are false color images assembled using more IR data from Spitzer. C uses data from three wavelengths—8 µm (red), 4.5 µm (green), and 3.6 µm (blue). The galaxy’s stars shine brightly in the shorter (“blue”) IR wavelengths, while the cooler interstellar dust glows red in the false color image. D add longer 24 µm data (also in red).

Image Credit: NASA