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Spiral Galaxy M81
Spiral Galaxy M81 NASA Spitzer Space Telescope image of the spiral galaxy M81, located some 12 million light years from Earth. The infrared radiation emitted by polycyclic nitrogen-containing aromatic hydrocarbon (PANH) molecules is shown in red. This emission is excited by star (and planet) formation along the edges of the spiral arms.

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molecule A polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon with nitrogen. The blue balls are the carbon atoms that make the chicken-wire shaped PAH skeleton and the yellow balls show the hydrogen atoms which are attached to the edge. The red shows the position of a nitrogen atom which fits almost perfectly within the molecule.

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