May 6, 2019 | David F. Coppedge

Superlative New Hubble Deep Field Shouts Awe

How many galaxies can you fit in a piece of sky the diameter of the full moon? Keep reading.

The Hubble Telescope team has been busy. For years, they have been collecting photons of light from a small area of sky, the apparent diameter of the full moon.  On May 2, they released their latest mind-boggler. The Hubble team tells the history that led up to their biggest deep field yet:

The Hubble Legacy Field combines observations taken by several Hubble deep-field surveys. In 1995, the Hubble Deep Field captured several thousand previously unseen galaxies. The subsequent Hubble Ultra Deep Field from 2004 revealed nearly 10,000 galaxies in a single image. The 2012 Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, was assembled by combining ten years of NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope observations taken of a patch of sky within the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

The new set of Hubble images, created from nearly 7,500 individual exposures, is the first in a series of Hubble Legacy Field images. The image comprises the collective work of 31 Hubble programs by different teams of astronomers. Hubble has spent more time on this small area than on any other region of the sky, totaling more than 250 days. The team is working on a second set of images, totaling more than 5,200 Hubble exposures.

And so here as the answer to “How many galaxies can you fit in a piece of sky the diameter of the full moon?” Incredibly, the team believes they can see 265,000 galaxies, according to Space.com. The new Hubble Legacy Field will probably hold a record for years to come. But one never knows; there are still many, many more galaxies to see out there.

Bored? Need some awe in your life? Meditate on these images for awhile and think about Psalm 8 and Psalm 19. Then think about the Creator of all this stooping to become a man and living with and teaching his creatures. Then ponder what they did to Him. Then think about His triumph over death and sin. Then think of His free gift of eternal life to all who believe. Then think about heaven.

Nobody should ever be bored again.

 

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