Glimpsing the Infinite: Astronomers Create Mosaic Image Containing 265,000 Galaxies Captured by Hubble Telescope

Thursday, 02 May 2019 - 10:19AM
ESA
Astronomy
Thursday, 02 May 2019 - 10:19AM
Glimpsing the Infinite: Astronomers Create Mosaic Image Containing 265,000 Galaxies Captured by Hubble Telescope
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NASA, ESA, and S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team
"The Cosmos is all that is or was or ever will be," Carl Sagan wrote in Cosmos. "Our feeblest contemplations of the Cosmos stir us — there is a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation, as if a distant memory, of falling from a height. We know we are approaching the greatest of mysteries." Since 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been providing astronomers and non-astronomers alike a glimpse – and think about that for just a second, because it is just a glimpse – of those vast, perhaps unknowable, mysteries, triggering the imaginations of anyone who has ever looked on the star-painted skies with awe. But now an international team of astronomers has assembled a mosaic – a composite image – called the Hubble Legacy Field combining 7,500 separate exposures that captured around 265,000 galaxies over the last 16 years. The result is breathtaking: even more so when you consider that each of those lights is potentially a galaxy, which, like the Milky Way, could contain 100 billion stars... or more. 


The project is the largest collection of galaxy images assembled to date. In 2004, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field released an image that contained 10,000 galaxies. They've come a long way since then. 


"Now that we have gone wider than in previous surveys, we are harvesting many more distant galaxies in the largest such dataset ever produced," said project team leader Garth Illingworth of UC: Santa Cruz. "No image will surpass this one until future space telescopes like James Webb are launched." The James Webb telescope has suffered from a number of delays and setbacks since its 2011 inception.  


Three of the zoomable images included in the mosaic may be found here, here, and here, but even more compelling is this video. Take a look. 

Science
NASA
ESA
Astronomy
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