M-100 is a face-on spiral galaxy in the Coma-Virgo galaxy cluster, and is one of the largest spirals in that group. The knots that appear in its spiral arms are large clouds of gas (star forming regions) similar to M-42, the Orion Nebula, in our own Milky Way galaxy. Some of the knots are also recently formed open star clusters similar to M-44 the Beehive Cluster. The red shift for M-100 seems far too low for its estimated distance of 60 million light years. This difference from the expected cosmological red shift may result from the galaxy’s local motion within the Virgo cluster. A recent (1997) estimate of the distance to the Virgo Cluster (based on the width of 21-cm HI radio line) is between 59.7 and 75.3 million light years.
M-100 and the “Age of the Universe Paradox”:
In 1994 W. Freedman, using the Hubble Space Telescope, made observations of M-100 that led her to project the age of the universe to be 8 billion years. This is much younger than previous estimates, and is even younger than estimates of the age of the oldest stars (15 billion years). This Age Paradox, if it holds up, could mean that there is a significant problem with either the Big Bang Theory or with our understanding of things like particle physics. However, more recent findings seem to solve this with age estimates of 9 to 12 billion years for the oldest stars, and 13 billion years for the universe...
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George Normandin, KAS
July 8th, 2002 (updated May 11, 2006)