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Miscellaneous thoughts and ramblings
Saturday, October 30, 2004
My God, It's Full of Stars
Hubble's Deepest View Ever of the Universe Unveils Earliest Galaxies
This story is from March, but it's about one of my favorite astronomy pictures, and I didn't have a blog in March.
Astronomers at the Space Telescope Science Institute today unveiled the deepest portrait of the visible universe ever achieved by humankind. Called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), the million-second-long exposure reveals the first galaxies to emerge from the so-called "dark ages," the time shortly after the big bang
when the first stars reheated the cold, dark universe.
These are the farthest (and therefore oldest) objects ever photographed. If you go to the Hubble site and then click on the picture and download the high resolution images, the detail and clarity is astonishing. You can spend minutes scrolling around and getting lost in the picture. But the really mind-shattering thing is that every little smudge and spiral and blot on the picture isn't a star; it's a galaxy of billions of stars. Truly breathtaking.
Dude, I'm totally downloading the hi-res file. Awesome!
Okay, I looked up some of the details. 2.4 arc minutes square. A minute is 1/60th of a degree, right? If that's right, you're talking about a square portion of the sky that's roughly .5 minutes on eaach side, or 1/120th of a degree per side.

Now expand the field of view to include the rest of the sphere.

Okay, you can pick the pieces of your head off the walls now.
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