NASA has released yet another stunning photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, and this time it's the largest image ever captured by the 25-year-old satellite: an incomprehensible, don't-even-try-to-download-it 1.5 billion pixel–wide shot of the Andromeda Galexy.
A composite image made up of 7,398 separate exposures, the massive photograph provides a sparkling view of a portion of Andromeda, the closest neighbor of the Milky Way, which is home to our solar system. (Close is a relative term: the spiral galaxy is still about 2.5 million light years away.)
The photograph covers some 61,000 light years, and clearly depicts more than 100 million stars, a feat that NASA equates to "photographing a beach and resolving individual grains of sand." It is the first time astronomers have been able to observe individual stars from a far-off galaxy over a contiguous area as large as this.
To view the whole full-sized photo at once, you would need about 600 HD televisions, which is impractical at best. Luckily, a zoomable version is available at the Hubble website.
Just a samll sample.
Thanks, Alex, for the Je Suis Charlie icon*****