M81 seen by AKARI IRC
Infrared images of the spiral galaxy M81 taken by the near- and mid-InfraRed Camera (IRC) on-board AKARI, at respectively 3, 4, 7, 11, 15 and 24 μm. M81 is at a distance of about 12 million light years.
The images at 3 and 4 μm show the distribution of stars in the inner part of the galaxy without any obscuration from intervening dust clouds. At 7 and 11 μm the radiation from organic materials in the interstellar gas of the galaxy can be seen. The distribution of the dust heated by young hot stars is exhibited in the images at 15 and 24 μm, showing that the star forming regions sit along the spiral arms of the galaxy.