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Home > iSGTW 29 July 2009 > Image of the week - Red, green and blue for a new view

Image of the week - Red, green and blue for a new view


NGC 253 was discovered in 1783 by astronomer Caroline Herschel and is the brightest member in the Sculptor group of galaxies. This is the nearest such galaxy collection to the so-called Local Group, which includes our own Milky Way. (Click on image to enlarge.) Created with IRSA On-Demand Image Mosaic Service and Montage v3.0

By combining different images taken on different instruments and at different wavelengths, grid-enabled Montage software can create all-new views of the stars — including NGC 253, also known as the “Silver Dollar Galaxy.”

At visible wavelengths, NGC 253 appears as a very dusty spiral galaxy viewed almost edge-on to our line of sight. The blue channel of this three-color image represents the visible view using B-band images from the Digitized Sky Survey 2.

At these wavelengths it is very difficult to see what the structure of the galaxy’s center looks like. Radiation at longer wavelengths, however, reveals that the nucleus of NGC 253 has a pronounced bar, as shown by the green and red channels in this image. These are the J- and Ks-bands, respectively, from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey.

— J. Davy Kirkpatrick and Bruce Berriman, Montage

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