first_img NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope snapped an image of a sideways galaxy and it looks like a lightsaber floating in space.The long red beam in the middle of the image is NGC 5866, a galaxy that lies 44 million light-years away from Earth and has a diameter of approximately 60,000 light-years, which is a little more than half the diameter of the Milky Way, said a NASA press release. Even though some galaxies have large spiral arms or thick dust disks, NGC 5866 is a different case: From our planet viewpoint, we only see the edge of this galaxy, so most of its structural characteristics are invisible to our eyes.Here’s how Spitzer can spot this “lightsaber” galaxy: The telescope detects infrared light, and the red hue shown in the image above corresponds to an infrared wavelength that is typically emitted by dust. The dust, which has a consistency similar to thick smoke or soot, absorbs light from stars and reemits light at longer wavelengths, including in infrared form.Clean edges of the dust emission from NGC 5866 show that there is a flat disk or ring of dust surrounding the outer region of the galaxy. Dust disks and rings can develop as a result of galaxies merging together, however, NGC 5866 doesn’t have any signs of distortions in the ring that can appear when galaxies collide.No, this red beam in space isn’t a light saber! It’s a galaxy, far, far away — 44 million light-years away, to be exact.Because we’re facing the galaxy’s edge, our @NASAspitzer telescope detects its infrared light but can’t see its spiral features. More: https://t.co/0bWqjKIHIy pic.twitter.com/WPqEHqkCcl— NASA (@NASA) August 7, 2019Spitzer snapped this image during its “cold” mission, which concluded a decade ago. The colors shown represent three infrared wavelengths that were captured by the Infrared Array Camera instrument. Blue light matches up to Spitzer’s observations at a wavelength of 3.6 microns, green corresponds to 4.5 microns, while red correlates to 8 microns. Blue haze in the image is generated by stars that make up most of NGC 5866.More on Geek.com:Hubble Snaps Illuminated Spiral Galaxy Over 70 Million Light-Years AwayNASA’s Chandra Spots Pair of Stars ‘Banished’ From GalaxiesNASA Telescope Observes Ancient Galaxies That Illuminated the Universe Spitzer Snaps Bright Infrared Close-Up of M81 GalaxyHubble Space Telescope Observes ‘Galactic Duo’ in Space Stay on targetlast_img

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