M82 (NIRCam Image)

 M82 (NIRCam Image)

Astronomers used the James Webb Space Telescope to look toward M82’s center, where a galactic wind is being launched as a result of rapid star formation and subsequent supernovas. Studying the galactic wind can offer insight into how the loss of gas shapes the future growth of the galaxy.

This image from Webb’s NIRCam (Near-Infrared Camera) instrument shows M82’s galactic wind via emission from sooty chemical molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are very small dust grains that survive in cooler temperatures but are destroyed in hot conditions. The structure of the emission resembles that of hot, ionized gas, suggesting PAHs may be replenished by continued ionization of molecular gas.

In this image, light at 3.35 microns is colored red, 2.50 microns is green, and 1.64 microns is blue (filters F335M, F250M, and F164N, respectively). 



NASA, ESA, CSA, STScI, Alberto Bolatto (UMD)

About The Object
Object Name M82, NGC 3034
Object Description Starburst Galaxy
R.A. Position 09:55:52.0
Dec. Position 69:40:48.99
Constellation Ursa Major
Distance 12 million light-years (3.7 Megaparsecs)
About The Data
Data Description This image was created with Webb data from proposal:  (M. Marin). Image processing: Alyssa Pagan (STScI).
Instrument JWST>NIRCam
Exposure Dates 5 Janurary 2024
Filters JWST> F164N, F250W, F335M
About The Image
Color Info This image is a composite of separate exposures acquired by the James Webb Space Telescope using the NIRCam instrument. Several filters were used to sample varying wavelength ranges. The color results from assigning different hues (colors) to each monochromatic (grayscale) image associated with an individual filter. In this case, the assigned colors are:  Blue: F164N, Green: F250W, Red: F335M
About The Object
Object Name A name or catalog number that astronomers use to identify an astronomical object.
Object Description The type of astronomical object.
R.A. Position Right ascension – analogous to longitude – is one component of an object's position.
Dec. Position Declination – analogous to latitude – is one component of an object's position.
Constellation One of 88 recognized regions of the celestial sphere in which the object appears.
Distance The physical distance from Earth to the astronomical object. Distances within our solar system are usually measured in Astronomical Units (AU). Distances between stars are usually measured in light-years. Interstellar distances can also be measured in parsecs.
Dimensions The physical size of the object or the apparent angle it subtends on the sky.
About The Data
Data Description
  • Proposal: A description of the observations, their scientific justification, and the links to the data available in the science archive.
  • Science Team: The astronomers who planned the observations and analyzed the data. "PI" refers to the Principal Investigator.
Instrument The science instrument used to produce the data.
Exposure Dates The date(s) that the telescope made its observations and the total exposure time.
Filters The camera filters that were used in the science observations.
About The Image
Image Credit The primary individuals and institutions responsible for the content.
Publication Date The date and time the release content became public.
Color Info A brief description of the methods used to convert telescope data into the color image being presented.
Orientation The rotation of the image on the sky with respect to the north pole of the celestial sphere.