NASA Satellite Supplies Incredible Views of the Closest Galaxies in UV Light
Astronomers from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and Pennsylvania State University have used NASA's Swift satellite to create unbelievably detailed surveys of the two closest major galaxies - the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, or LMC and SMC for short. Thousands of images were compiled to create seamless portraits of the main body of each galaxy, producing the highest-resolution surveys of the LMC and SMC at ultraviolet wavelengths. Viewing in the ultraviolet allows astronomers to suppress the light of normal stars like the sun, which are not that bright at these higher energies, and provide a clearer picture of the hottest stars and star-formation regions. Only Swift's Ultraviolet/Optical Telescope (UVOT) is capable of producing such high-resolution, wide-field multi-color surveys in the ultraviolet. Goddard astrophysicist Stefan Immler, who proposed the project, narrates this video tour.