Seeing the universe in X-rays, optical and infrared, all at once

Images: X-ray: Chandra: NASA/CXC/SAO, XMM: ESA/XMM-Newton; IR: JWST: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI, Spitzer: NASA/JPL/CalTech; Optical: Hubble: NASA/ESA/STScI, ESO; Image Processing: L. Frattare, J. Major, N. Wolk, and K. Arcand

Imagine listening to a symphony with the violins removed. Or the horn section. Or the percussion. To appreciate the composition, the listener needs to hear it all. Likewise, studying a galaxy at optical, infrared or X-rays alone does not tell the full story.

Chandra X-ray Observatory researchers have released four fresh images of familiar targets – galaxy M74, a barred spiral, a star cluster in the Small Magellanic Cloud and the famed “Pillars of Creation” – that combine all three wavelengths from multiple telescopes to provide mesmerizing composite images.

The data are not new, but combining the different wavelengths from Chandra, the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, XMM Newton, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the European Space Agency’s New Technology Telescope offers a more complete picture of the myriad phenomena at work across the cosmos. A NASA video describes each image: