Messier Monday: The Most Curious Object of All, M24 (Synopsis)

“It takes considerable knowledge just to realize the extent of your own ignorance.” -Thomas Sowell

Every object of the 110 in the Messier Catalogue tells its own unique story, but not every object is a true astronomical object on its own! Along with two groupings of stars -- a double star (M40) and a quadruple star (M73) -- there's also a very special object that's neither a star cluster nor a chance grouping: the Sagittarius Star Cloud!

What you're actually seeing is a hole in the "dust" of the Milky Way's plane, enabling us to see more than 10,000 light-years, all the way to the closest spiral arm to us. That little window opens up, by angular size, the largest Messier object of them all!

Image credit: © 2006 — 2012 by Siegfried Kohlert, via http://www.astroimages.de/en/gallery/M24.html. Image credit: © 2006 — 2012 by Siegfried Kohlert, via http://www.astroimages.de/en/gallery/M24.html.

Go read the whole story, and enjoy the amazing images that come with it!

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Thanks so much for Messier Mondays! I look forward every week to a new, mind-blowing vision of the universe around us.

By Marti Latta (not verified) on 05 Aug 2014 #permalink

Great way to start my day... truly a magnificent website. Thanks!

Nice site, it gives dimension. I have an experience I would like to share: twenty years ago, I stood gazing up at a clear night sky - All the stars of the milky way were brilliant - and then suddenly I saw the shape of our galaxy, I saw it from inside. I could see that I was inside it and I could see the disk-shaped big thing from inside - It was overwhelming to grasp an object of this size. This was the largest single object I have ever made an image of. Sometimes I wonder if it's possible to see even larger ?

By Urban Jonsson (not verified) on 12 Aug 2014 #permalink