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Large and Small Scale Structure

Large scale structure refers to the big features of an object, spanning wide regions of space. Traversing more compact regions, the finer details denote small scale structure.

Large Scale Structure in M82; low spatial resolution

JPEG Image (12.6K); Credit and Copyright

Small Scale Structure in M82; high spatial resolution

JPEG Image (27K); Credit and Copyright

Scale and Resolution

High spatial resolution results not only in clearer images; it also provides a means to extract the image information at different levels of detail. Notice you cannot discern the overall oval shape of M82 in the bottom image, but you can in the top one. The oval shape visible in the upper image is considered to be a large scale structure. To resolve it, the Very Large Array was set at a low spatial resolution, discerning only large details.

On the other hand, the small red point in the center of M82 is visible only in the bottom image. Here, high resolution was selected in order to pick out the fine details.

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Copyright 1995, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois

NCSA. Last modified 11/12/95