Huge Astronomical Image of Empty Space Obtained with ESO Telescope
Part of the Deep 3 Deep Public Survey field, showing the brightest galaxy in the field ESO 570-19 (upper left) and the variable star UW Crateris. This red giant (upper right) is a variable star that is about 8 times fainter than what the unaided eye can see. An S-shaped ensemble of galaxies is also visible in the lower part of the picture. Imagine: all these island universes are about the same size as our Milky Way and contain billion of stars!
An image made of about 300 million pixels is being released by ESO, based on more than 64 hours of observations with the Wide-Field Camera on the 2.2m telescope at La Silla (Chile). The image covers an empty region of the sky five times the size of the full moon, opening an exceptionally clear view towards the most distant part of our universe. It reveals objects that are 100 million times fainter than what the unaided eye can see.
Easter is in many countries a time of great excitement for children who are on the big hunt for chocolate eggs, hidden all about the places. Astronomers, however, do not need to wait this special day to get such an excitement: it is indeed daily that they look for faraway objects concealed in deep images of the sky. And as with chocolate eggs, deep sky objects, such as galaxies, quasars or gravitational lenses, come in the wildest variety of colours and shapes.
Henri Boffin | alfa
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