Early extragalactic result – M51

M51 at 850 µm seen as the contour lines overlaid onto a 3-colour composite image of HST data.

The image above shows one of our first attempts at observing an object from outside our Galaxy and Solar System with SCUBA-2. It is a short 30 minute integration at 850 µm, which has been reduced by James Geach (Univ. McGill) for us. The underlying colour image is a HST composite and the contours are the SCUBA-2 data.

It is still too early to use these data to evaluate how we are doing with observing extragalactic sources. The observing mode was not optimum and the weather was average at best (CSO tau was ~ 0.1 for those interested!). Nevertheless, it is pleasing to see how we have easily detected the  nuclei of the two interacting galaxies, the fainter 850 µm emission that traces the dust lanes seen as dark in the inner regions of the spiral arms in the optical image (a larger version of the image is available; zoom in for a closer look), and that we are also sensitive to regions of hot star formation seen in the outer arms of the spiral galaxy.

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