Gigglebit: Andromeda Galaxy in all its glorious, detailed, star-spangled beauty

23 Jan 2015

Image via NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI/AURA)

With Gigglebit, we turn the spotlight on humorous and/or amazing content about science and tech, such as this incredible high-definition image of a galaxy far far away.

More than 2m light-years from where you’re reading this right now, sits the Andromeda Galaxy and US space agency NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has been working overtime to bring us one of the coolest picture since the Pale Blue Dot.

It’s the largest and sharpest image ever taken of the galaxy and, to view the original, you would need 600 HD TVs. Despite it’s large distance from Earth, Andromeda is a much bigger target in the sky than the myriad galaxies Hubble routinely photographs.

This means that the galaxy “survey” is assembled together into a mosaic image using 7,398 exposures taken over 411 individual “pointings”. The zoomable mosaic is absolutely stunning and well worth spending the entire day viewing. Especially if you view it in full screen, and set your browser to the same.

This awesome photographic project sets quite a high benchmark for any future space studies. If you’re wondering where exactly it is, here’s NASA’s own narrated video showing you just how to get there.

A new dawn for photography of deep space

“Never before have astronomers been able to see individual stars inside an external spiral galaxy over such a large contiguous area,” says NASA in a statem Most of the stars in the universe live inside such majestic star cities, and this is the first data that reveal populations of stars in context to their home galaxy.

The Hubble Telescope also took some of these brilliant images, with a video already online showing the breathtaking beauty of the whole project.

Compass and scale Image of Andromeda mosaic. Via NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI/AURA)

Hubble shot of Andromeda (1)

Another view of Andromeda. Via NASA, ESA, and Z. Levay (STScI/AURA)

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic