Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2001 January 1
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download 
 the highest resolution version available.

The Millennium that Defines Universe
Credit: Camille Flammarion; Courtesy: HSC, U. Oklahoma;
Digitization: K. Magruder (OU); Coloring: R. J. Nemiroff (Michigan Tech)

Explanation: Welcome to millennium three. During millennium two, humanity continually redefined its concept of "Universe": first as spheres centered on the Earth, in mid-millennium as the Solar System, a few centuries ago as the Galaxy, and within the last century as the matter emanating from the Big Bang. During millennium three humanity may hope to discover alien life, to understand the geometry and composition of our present concept of Universe, and even to travel through this Universe. Whatever our accomplishments, humanity will surely find adventure and discovery in the space above and beyond, and possibly define the surrounding Universe in ways and colors we cannot yet imagine by the threshold of millennium four.

Tomorrow's picture: Spacecraft Approaches Jupiter

< | Archive | Index | Search | Calendar | Glossary | Education | About APOD | >

Authors & editors: Robert Nemiroff (MTU) & Jerry Bonnell (USRA)
NASA Technical Rep.: Jay Norris. Specific rights apply.
A service of: LHEA at NASA/GSFC
& Michigan Tech. U.