Messier Mosaic (Image Credit: Terry Hancock via: Down Under Observatory)

This busy, buzzing hive of stellar activity can be found near the center of our galaxy, in the Sagittarius spiral arm of the Milky Way. Overall, it takes up nearly 7 full degrees of the sky and contains some of the most beautiful celestial regions in our galaxy; from the famous Eagle nebula — along with its many layers, like the Pillars of Creation and the Fairy of the Eagle nebula (all on the far right) — to Messier 17, or the Omega nebula (pictured near the center).

Also pictured are a few notable groupings of stars, like the Messier 25 open cluster (located in the upper left) and the lesser-known M24 cluster (otherwise known as the Sagittarius Star Cloud). M25 alone spans approximately 20 light-years across and inhabits a region of space about 2,000 light-years from Earth, which makes it much closer to us than many of the other regions contained wherein. M24, on the other-hand, is a lot more expansive. It stretches more than 600 light-years in length, with over one thousand stars visible in one single field of view.

A Closer Look At These Regions:

Individual Messier Objects

All of these regions were found by Charles Messier: a legendary astronomer most famous for his work on what's now called the Messier Catalog.

Other Beautiful Messier Objects:


See a larger image (courtesy of NASA's APOD) here.

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