SPIRE images of M66 and M74 at 250 μm
Date: 09 July 2009
Copyright: ESA and the SPIRE Consortium
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On 24 June 2009, SPIRE recorded its first images during the in-orbit commissioning phase of the Herschel mission. These pictures, made before fine-tuning or in-orbit final calibration was performed, show SPIRE images of two galaxies, M66 and M74, at a wavelength of 250 microns. The images trace emission by dust in clouds where star formation is active, and the nucleus and spiral arms show up clearly. Dust is part of the interstellar material fuelling star formation, and these images effectively show the reservoirs of gas and dust that are available to be turned into stars in the galaxies. Significantly, the image frames are also filled with many other galaxies which are much more distant and only show up as point sources. There are also some extended structures, possibly due to clouds of dust in our own galaxy.
Last Update: 1 September 2019