On January 5, 2015, ESA/NASA released the sharpest image of the Andromeda Galaxy ever made. Taken with the Hubble telescope, the image is 1.5 billion pixels in size. That’s 4.3 GB of space on your hard drive (or one DVD) just for one image. Of course, the Hubble telescope doesn’t have a sensor with that many pixels—the photo is a stitched panorama. This video gives a zoomed in glimpse at the amazing gigapixel image:
The image depicts a section of the galaxy that stretches across 40,000 light years. It is not known yet how many images it took to generate the panorama, but its resolution is magnificent. If you want you can view the full image and each speck of light via an interactive browser by clicking on the image below.
Every one of those specks of light is a star which has at least one planet orbiting it.
Andromeda is the nearest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way; it can be observed in the night sky with the naked eye if you’re in the right hemisphere and if there isn’t any light pollution obscuring your view. But only through a giant telescope like the Hubble can we see it in such detail.
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