Picture of the Day: A Galactic Kaleidoscope

messier615.jpg

NASA

Three facts about today's picture of the day, of the spiral galaxy Messier 101:

  1. Its name conveys that it was featured in French astronomer Charles Messier's catalog of celestial objects. In fact, it was one of the last entries.

  2. It was observed by William Parsons, 3rd Early of Rosse, with his enormous telescope. (The Leviathan of Parsontown, as it's called, was the world's largest telescope until the early 20th-century.)

  3. Twice as large as the Milky Way, the colors here emerge from a composite of many telescopic images and wave-lengths: from the Chandra X-ray Observatory, purple; from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, blue; from the Hubble Space Telescope, yellow; from the Spitzer Space Telescope, red.

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:

Presented by

Robinson Meyer is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where he covers technology.

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it. They are repulsed by it."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Technology

Just In