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NASA Reveals Largest View Of Space To Ever Be Fitted In One Photo
By Mikelle Leow, 09 May 2019
Images via NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (University of California, Santa Cruz) and G. Bacon (STScI), Wikimedia Commons (public domain)
Stephen Hawking famously said that humans are simply an “advanced breed of monkeys” living on a “minor planet of a very average star.” NASA’s new photo brings truth to those words by showing the entire universe on a scale you’ve never seen before.
The space agency has released the largest, most detailed single picture of galaxies. It is so immense, that NASA describes it as a “history book” that is stitched together using 7,500 individual photos that span 16 years of observations.
The mosaic, called the Hubble Legacy Field, was wholly shot by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, and features 265,000 galaxies, some of which are 13.3 billion years old.
It contains 30 times as many galaxies as previous deep-sky views. Additionally, the photo documents all their growth from “‘infants’ to when they grew into fully fledged ‘adults,’” says Garth Illingworth from University of California in Santa Cruz, who led the project.
Impressively, the “faintest and farthest galaxies” shown in the image are only “one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see,” NASA points out.
Until a more advanced space telescope comes along, “No image will surpass this one,” describes NASA. You might not be able to peruse the whole photo, as its width nearly reaches that of “the full Moon.”
“We’ve put together this mosaic as a tool to be used by us and by other astronomers,” Illingworth details. “The expectation is that this survey will lead to an even more coherent, in-depth and greater understanding of the universe's evolution in the coming years.”
To make browsing the photo easier for audiences, NASA has created a video depicting the depth of the 265,000 galaxies, before zooming out to reveal the Hubble Legacy Field image in full. A cropped version of the incredible picture can also be found below.
A cropped image of the distant universe. The galaxies here date back 13.3 billion years, some 500 million years after the big bang. Image via NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), K. Whitaker (University of Connecticut), R. Bouwens (Leiden University), P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and the Hubble Legacy Field team
The mosaic stretches to nearly the width of the Moon. Image via Hubble Legacy Field team, NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth and D. Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz), Goddard Space Flight Center and Arizona State University
[via Thrillist, images via various sources]
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