Back when OS X Lion first came out, amateur and pro astronomers alike noted with bemusement that Apple had used their new operating system as an excuse to alter the Universe according to their whim. Most notably, when picking a picture of the Andromeda Galaxy as OS X Lion’s default wallpaper, Apple photoshopped several stars and an entire separate galaxy out of the picture.
When Apple debuted the next version of OS X, Mountain Lion, with a brand new galactic image as the default wallpaper, we wondered if Apple had done it again. As it turns out, they have.
The galaxy that Apple ended up using for the default Mountain Lion wallpaper is the NGC 3190, a spiral galaxy in the Leo constellation. The image of the galaxy Apple used was the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day, which describes the galaxy like this:
Some spiral galaxies are seen almost sideways. NGC 3190, one such galaxy, is the largest member of the Hickson 44 Group, one of the nearer groups of galaxies to our own Local Group of galaxies. Pictured above, finely textured dust lanes surround the brightly glowing center of this picturesque spiral. Gravitational tidal interactions with other members of its group have likely caused the spiral arms of NGC 3190 to appear asymmetric around the center, while the galactic disk also appears warped. NGC 3190 spans about 75,000 light years across and is visible with a small telescope toward the constellation of the Lion (Leo).
It’s a beautiful image, but as usual, Apple has applied its creative filter to the vast splendor of the universe, applying an ethereal blue light to the galaxy and Photoshopping out of the image several other galaxies, while also putting in a number of stars that don’t actually exist.
Check out the full-res NASA image here and then compare it to the full-res Mountain Lion wallpaper here. Oh, how cavalierly Apple alters the very fabric of a galactic body more than 439 quadrillion miles across. God complex much?