The universe is … big. Unfathomably large. Still, a picture from deep space can often reacquaint us with its vastness and blow our minds yet again.
The Hubble Space Telescope has spent years staring into what’s out there, collecting the light from faraway objects. Many years ago, it completed a Wide Field Survey and NASA released a photo that showed thousands of galaxies from just a tiny patch of sky. They appeared in all colors and shapes; the entire image field was full of them. But now, researchers have released a new image called the Hubble Legacy Field, and it’s more awesome than any other photo the telescope has ever taken.
The Hubble team gathered data from the last 16 years’ worth of observations and combined 7,500 different exposures to create the new photo. Unlike the previous deep field pic that contained around 3,000 distinctly clear galaxies, this new image is darker and more speckled. It appears to show many stars, only they aren’t stars. This Hubble Legacy field features more than 265,000 galaxies that were formed as far back as 13 billion years ago!
Light from these objects has been shooting across space since about 500 million years after the Big Bang and just recently hit Hubble’s camera. Every week when we fetch photos of objects in the universe, we travel back in time—sometimes a little bit here, sometimes a little more there. This week, though, we’re going all the way back.
Looking for more bang for your inner Buck Rogers? Bend the space-time continuum with WIRED’s full collection of photos, here.
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