NGC 253, characterized by its vigorous star formation and spiral dust lanes, reveals its underlying structure in multiple wavelengths.
In NGC 253, the visible-light view is complicated by the viewing angle, dark dust clouds, and scatterings of massive stars. Switching to the near-infrared lets us see the full population of stars more clearly, revealing a bar running through the center of the galaxy. Including mid-infrared also brings out the dust lanes clearly, and even highlights the areas where stars are forming vigorously, particularly in the galaxy's center.
Optical: Dust and bright stars confuse the view in visible light. Near-Infrared: Dust lanes along the spiral arms glow in the mid-infrared. Mid-Infrared: The base population of stars reveal the spiral arms and central bar.