The Fireworks Galaxy (NGC 6946)
Sig08 008

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Kennicutt (U. of Ariz./Inst. of Astr., U. of Cambridge) and the SINGS Team

Observation • June 23rd, 2008 • sig08-008


NGC 6946, or "The Fireworks Galaxy", is one of about a dozen nearby neighbors to the Milky Way. It is located approximately 10 million light-years away in the Cepheus constellation. This image was captured as part of the Spitzer Infrared Nearby Galaxy Survey (SINGS) Legacy Project using the telescope's Infrared Array Camera (IRAC).

The "glowing" red emission reveals regions in the galaxy that are actively forming new stars. The blue dots sprinkled along this image are Milky Way stars along this line of sight.

The SINGS image is a four channel false color composite, where blue indicates emission at 3.6 microns, green corresponds to 4.5 microns, and red to 5.8 and 8.0 microns. The contribution from starlight (measured at 3.6 microns) in this picture has been subtracted from the 5.8 and 8 micron images to enhance the visibility of the dust features.

About the Object

Fireworks GalaxyNGC 6946
Galaxy > Type > Spiral
18,000,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 5.8 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC


Position (J2000)
RA =20h 34m 52.3s
Dec = 60° 9' 15.6"
Field of View
11.9 x 17.8 arcminutes
North is 394.9° left of vertical