Pinwheel Firework: Stunning Telescope Image Captures ‘Grand Spiral’ Galaxy

The Coma Pinwheel, commonly known as NGC 4254 or Messier 99, is a spiral galaxy with distinct, well-defined arms. It is known as a grand design spiral galaxy because of its unusual pinwheel configuration with prominent arms.

On March 17, 1781, French astronomer Pierre Méchain made the discovery. He informed Charles Messier, a fellow French astronomer, who added it to the Messier Group of comet-like objects. Compared to when it was first spotted by Méchain and Messier in the 18th century, modern technology has allowed us to observe galaxies like this in far better detail.

Location Of NGC 4254

The grand design spiral galaxy NGC 4254 is located in the northern constellation Coma Berenices, 49,000,000 light-years away from the Milky Way. Coma Berenices, which translates to “Berenice’s Hair” in Latin, is a reference to Queen Berenice II of Egypt, who offered her long hair as a sacrifice to the gods.

Significance Of MUSE

The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), which is jointly owned by ESO and the Very Large Telescope (VLT), was used to collect the data used to create this image.

The Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) instrument was used to collect the VLT data, which is displayed in blue and purple tones and maps the distribution of stars. The frigid gas clouds that give rise to the ALMA data, represented by the red and orange regions in this image, have the potential to collapse into stars in the future. It is possible to comprehend how stars form better by contrasting these two datasets.


The Physics at High Angular Resolution in Neighboring GalaxieS (PHANGS) survey, which creates high-resolution photographs of nearby galaxies across all light wavelengths, was used to capture this image. Astronomers will be able to gain a better understanding of the various galaxy habitats present in our universe as a result.

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