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08.22.13

The Dusty Barred Sculptor Galaxy

The spectacular dusty swirling arms and central bar of the Sculptor galaxy are revealed in this new view from NASAs Spitzer Space Telescope. The main image is an infrared composite combining data from two of Spitzers detectors taken during its early cold, or cryogenic, mission.

Also known as NGC 253, the Sculptor galaxy is part of a cluster of galaxies visible to observers in the Southern hemisphere. It is known as a starburst galaxy for the extraordinarily strong star formation in its nucleus. This activity warms the surrounding dust clouds, causing the brilliant yellow-red glow in the center of this infrared image. Regions of star formation glow especially bright at the longest wavelengths (red).

Infrared light with wavelengths of 8.0 microns is rendered in green, and 24-micron emission is red.