Great image! Note, however, that NGC 1309 was the APOD of January 16, 2013
, and back then its color balance was quite different. Personally I think that today's APOD looks a lot more realistic, since it is hard to believe that a galaxy of NGC 1309's type would be so blue and so non-yellow.
The Pinwheel galaxy, M101.
But we can learn a lot from a galaxy's color index. NGC 1309 turns out to be quite blue. Its B-V index is 0.44 and its U-B index is -0.17. Both values are quite blue. Fascinatingly, the B-V index of 0.44 is almost exactly the same as the B-V index of the large Pinwheel Galaxy, M101, whose B-V index is 0.45.
Because I take such a tremendous interest in the color of stars and galaxies, I can say without a doubt that a B-V index of 0.45 is blue for any galaxy, and it is extremely
blue for a large galaxy like M101. Those of us who like to look at galaxy pictures see so many photos of M101 that we probably don't realize how extreme it is in its amazing wealth of O, B and A-type stars. NGC 1309, because it is so small, is not nearly as remarkable in its blue color as M101, because small galaxies don't have a huge population of old yellow stars, and a period of vigorous starbirth can easily shift their color to blue.
The point I'm trying to make is that NGC 1309 is just as blue as M101. In view of that, which APOD paints the truer picture, today's APOD of July 14, 2016, or the previous APOD of January 16, 2013?
In my opinion neither APOD makes NGC 1309 appear to be the same color as M101. The APOD of 2013 suppresses the yellow channel too much, and today's APOD enhances it too much. There can be no doubt that the galactic lens of NGC 1309, the dust-free circular area surrounding the brilliant point-shaped nucleus, is predominantly yellow (even though there appears to be star formation close to the nucleus), but it hardly looks yellow at all in the APOD of 2013. On the other hand, I personally would expect the inner spiral arms of NGC 1309 to look bluer than they do in today's APOD.
Still, today's APOD looks very very beautiful.