This photograph has been obtained by David Malin with the Anglo-Australian telescope. It shows the majestic spiral galaxy, Messier 100 in the Virgo Cluster, one of the finest spirals in this diverse group, which is seen almost face-on to us. We can clearly note the loose, fluffy nature of the regions rich in young stars scattered along the spiral arms, an abundant feature in many spirals. Astronomers call these regions flocculant. The lack of perfect symmetry in its brightest features suggests that M100 has been disturbed by gravitational interaction with its neighbors, as might be expected in a galaxy-rich environment.
The galactic companions and neighbors of M100 are well visible in other AAT images of M100 by David Malin. Using special processing, David Malin has also provided deep images of M100, revealing that this galaxy is actually much larger than shown in the current image; this implicates that a considerable amount of its matter is bound in low luminosity stars.
This image was obtained from 3 photographic plates of different
emulsion/filter combinations. The red plate was exposed 35 minutes, the
green and blue 25 minutes each.
This images is copyrighted and may be used for private purpose only. For any other kind of use, including internet mirroring and storing on CD-ROM, please contact the Photo Permissions Department (photo at aaoepp.aao.gov.au) of the Australian Astronomical Observatory.
Last Modification: March 29, 1998