Corona around edge-on spiral NGC 4634
Credit: R. Tuellmann, AIRUB, Germany and ESA

King of Corona

Hot winds blow from island universes. The process of star birth and death energizes the interstellar material in galaxies, heating gas to millions of degrees and creating extended hot clouds of gas. Such "galactic coronae" can generally dwarf the galaxy. But not all galaxies show such hot coronae, and its not clear why some due and some don't. A new survey of galaxies by the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory is helping astronomers better understand how galactic coronae form, and how these coronal structures can interact with material within the galaxy. The image above shows an XMM "true-color" X-ray image of the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 4634, in which color represents X-ray energy (red, green, and blue for low, medium and high energy photons). The galaxy itself is not apparent in the X-ray image, but its location is shown by the dashed ellipse. NGC 4634 is only the second non-starburst late type spiral galaxy to exhibit a prominent diffuse soft X-ray halo.

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Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:25:30 EDT