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.

2005 June 26
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

The 2MASS Galaxy Sky
Credit & Copyright: 2MASS, T. H. Jarrett, J. Carpenter, & R. Hurt

Explanation: Are the nearest galaxies distributed randomly? A plot of over one million of the brightest "extended sources" detected by the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) shows that they are not. The vast majority of these infrared extended sources are galaxies. Visible above is an incredible tapestry of structure that provides limits on how the universe formed and evolved. Many galaxies are gravitationally bound together to form clusters, which themselves are loosely bound into superclusters, which in turn are sometimes seen to align over even larger scale structures. In contrast, very bright stars inside our own Milky Way Galaxy cause the vertical blue sash.

Tomorrow's picture: star ball

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