Creepy, or beautiful? Why not both?
Absolutely gobsmacking image -- thanks for featuring it here with your usually high level of explanation!
I visited that page with the slider (yes, very cool!), and saw that this galaxy has a neighbor which may or may not be responsible for the extended spiral arms. (The page refers to them as "this squabbling pair of galactic neighbours," haha.) There's a link there to some background, per Hubble:
...which does seem to hint at the relationship!
Very basic question: it seems obvious that spiral galaxies rotate in the same way that Earthbound whirlpools do -- in this case, that M51 is rotating "counterclockwise" from our perspective. But I've been fooled before by leaping to the obvious -- wrong -- conclusions about what such photos show. Is the "obvious" interpretation the right one in this case?
Really gorgeous image! Probably a silly question, but when analyzing an image like this, how do we tell which points of light are stars in the galaxy, and which are in the background, far away (or in front, I suppose)? Do you 'focus' on a certain distance?
I know about red shift, but can you do that with these IR filters in place? And can you isolate redshift to particular pixels/small regions of the image?
Or is it done by cross-reference with other observations that tell you which 'spots' are actually in the galaxy?
PAHs never looked so good! Those sliders are always great. Substack always lists the time to read an article. Hah! I think this one said 5 minutes. Took me 8 with some scrolling up and down to refer back to the image for each section of description. Then I started in on your links. There were several minutes spent with the slider and more at the release site. And there there was the rabbit hole of why the spiral arms. Phil, it would take hours to completely do justice to one of your posts. Luckily, I’m retired...
Phil, there are no words! Sublime, mind-bending...my eyes can die happy (again!)
Just. Freakin'. Unbelievable!
Absolutely astounding. Thanks Phil
OT, but I'm hoping you can tell me how much this NY Times opinion reflects the worries of the field as a whole:
I mean, my gut reaction is to get out my Paradigm Shift! pom-poms, because that's the most fun in science, but these guys seem almost unhappy at the prospect, very odd.