Messier 51, The Whirlpool Galaxy. The SDSS image of this famous spiral galaxy (interacting with a smaller neighbor at the lower left) occupies about three one-millionths of the total sky area imaged by the SDSS (Credit: The Sloan Digital Sky Survey)
A collaboration of researchers from around the world has just made the largest ever digital color image of the sky available to the scientific community and the public. The image has been put together using photographic information obtained from a powerful digital camera mounted on a telescope in New Mexico and spectroscopic surveys executed through several programs. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has presented the enormous sky map to the 217th annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.