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This image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, or M101, combines data in the infrared, visible, ultraviolet and x-rays from four of NASA’s space telescopes. This multi-spectral view shows that both young and old stars are evenly distributed along M101’s tightly-w

This image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, or M101, combines data in the infrared, visible, ultraviolet and x-rays from four of NASA’s space telescopes. This multi-spectral view shows that both young and old stars are evenly distributed along M101’s tightly-w

This image of the Pinwheel Galaxy, or M101, combines data in the infrared, visible, ultraviolet and x-rays from four of NASA’s space telescopes. This multi-spectral view shows that both young and old stars are evenly distributed along M101’s tightly-wound spiral arms. Such composite images allow astronomers to see how features in one part of the spectrum match up with those seen in other parts. It is like seeing with a regular camera, an ultraviolet camera, night-vision goggles and X-Ray vision, all at once! The Pinwheel Galaxy is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70% larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy, with a diameter of about 170,000 light years, and sits at a distance of 21 million light years from Earth. This means that the light we’re seeing in this image left the Pinwheel Galaxy about 21 million years ago – many millions of years before humans ever walked the Earth. The red colors in the image show infrared light, as seen by the Spitzer Space Telesco