Click to enlargeSpitzer Tadpole Galaxy Photo

Buy this Tadpole Galaxy photo. High quality Spitzer space picture, poster, slide, or Duratrans backlit transparency. NASA photograph PIA03543. Wide variety of sizes.

This spectacular image, taken by the Spitzer Wide-area Infrared Extragalactic (SWIRE) Legacy project, encapsulate one of the primary objectives of the Spitzer mission: to connect the evolution of galaxies from the distant, or early, universe to the nearby, or present day, universe.

The Tadpole galaxy is the result of a recent galactic interaction in the local universe. Although these galactic mergers are rare in the universe's recent history, astronomers believe that they were much more common in the early universe. Thus, SWIRE team members will use this detailed image of the Tadpole galaxy to help understand the nature of the "faint red-orange specks" of the early universe.

The SWIRE images are 3-channel false-color composites, where blue represents visible green light (light that would appear to be blue/green to the human eye), green captures infrared light of 3.6 microns, and red represents infrared emissions of 8 microns. The infrared data are from Spitzer's infrared array camera and the visible-light data are from the Isaac Newton Telescope, Spain.

Addition Date: October 27, 2005
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

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