To create a spectacular new view of the galaxy, Monika Soraisam of the University of Illinois and her colleagues used six different filters in DECam. Filters allow astronomers to select which wavelengths of light they want to see the sky at, creating images as colorful as this one. Thus, the dark tendrils that wind through Messier 83 are actually lines of dust that block light. In contrast, the clustered bright red dots are caused by hot, bright hydrogen gas, which identifies them as centers of star formation.
In total they have been necessary 163 DECam exposures, with a combined total exposure time of over 11.3 hours for this fabulous snapshot of Messier 83.
“The observations of Messier 83 are part of an ongoing program to produce an atlas of time-varying phenomena in nearby southern galaxies in preparation for the Rubin Observatory’s Legacy Survey of Space and Time,” explains Soraisam.