SPACE-WUNDER: Galaxy Groups And Integrated Flux Nebula In This Pic.

Just look at this picture. Zillions upon gazillions of burning machines of creation. You’re gazing into the M81 group of galaxies. What’s exactly going on here?

Hit the jump to find out.


Large galaxies and faint nebulae highlight this deep image of the  M81 Group  of galaxies. First and foremost in the wide-angle 12-hour exposure is the  grand design spiral  galaxy  M81, the largest galaxy visible in the image.  M81  is  gravitationally interacting  with  M82  just below it, a big galaxy with an unusual halo of filamentary red-glowing gas.  Around the image  many other galaxies from the  M81 Group  of galaxies can be seen, as well as a  lucky satellite glint  streaking across the image left. Together with other  galaxy congregates  including our  Local Group  of galaxies and the  Virgo Cluster  of galaxies, the  M81Group is part of the expansive  Virgo Supercluster of Galaxies. This whole galaxy menagerie is seen through the faint glow of an  Integrated Flux Nebula, a little studied complex of diffuse gas and dust clouds in our  Milky Way Galaxy.

Awesome stuff.