Like a painter adding texture to a portrait, NASA used data from three of its "great observatories" to create the above composite picture of Messier 101, highlighting the spiral galaxy's many layers of detail.
Visible light (yellow) captured by the Hubble Space Telescope reveals where stars are perched along the galaxy's spiral arms. Infrared light (red) spotted by the Spitzer Space Telescope shows hot, star-forming dust. And x-ray light (blue) seen by the Chandra X-ray Observatory marks high-energy gases, debris from exploded stars, and matter zooming around the edges of black holes.
NASA distributed the new picture to museums and schools nationwide to display as part of celebrations for Galileo's birthday on February 15.