The Dusty Barred Sculptor Galaxy
Ssc2013 07a3

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Observation • August 22nd, 2013 • ssc2013-07a3


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.

About the Object

Sculptor GalaxyNGC 253
Galaxy > Type > Spiral
Galaxy > Type > Barred
Galaxy > Activity > Starburst
11,400,000 Light Years

Color Mapping

Band Wavelength Telescope
Infrared 3.6 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 4.5 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 8.0 µm Spitzer IRAC
Infrared 24.0 µm Spitzer MIPS


Position (J2000)
RA =0h 47m 34.2s
Dec = -25° 17' 58.4"
Field of View
34.6 x 29.2 arcminutes
North is 37.2° left of vertical