Herschel's First Peeks at Galaxies
galaxy called M74 in three wavelengths

These pictures, taken by Herschel's spectral and photometric imaging receiver before fine-tuning or in-orbit final calibration was performed, show the galaxy called M74 at three different wavelengths: 250, 300 and 500 microns. The images are scaled to bring out the extended structure of the galaxy and to show more detail in the background sky. The image quality is best at 250 microns because telescopes produce sharper images at their shortest wavelengths. By combining the three images, astronomers can measure the properties of the emitting dust and identify the nature of the many distant galaxies that also appear in the pictures. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., contributed crucial mission-enabling technology to the spectral and photometric imaging receiver instrument.

Image credit: ESA & the PACS Consortium

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