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.

March 16, 1996

Spiral Galaxy M90
Credit and Copyright: Bill Keel (University of Alabama)
1.1-meter Hall Telescope, Lowell Observatory

Explanation: Spiral galaxy M90 is near the center of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies - the closest cluster of galaxies to the our own Milky Way Galaxy. Also dubbed NGC 4569, this galaxy has a very compact and bright nucleus. Because of M90's proximity and motion inside the Virgo Cluster, M90 actually shows a blueshift - indicating that it is moving toward us rather than away. Most galaxies show a redshift which indicates that they move away from us. Calibrating exactly how redshift relates to distance would indicate a scale for our universe - a topic of much debate recently.

Information: The Scale of the Universe Debate in April 1996
Tomorrow's picture: Saturn's Cloud Tops

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