Aug 13, 2009

# The Greatest Image Ever

Today I will show you the GREATEST IMAGE EVER.

A bold statement? Certainly.
Skeptical? You must be.

But before you scroll down to see the THE GREATEST IMAGE EVER, let us first define this outlandish proposition.

source

Now that we’re clear, without further adieu I present….

….

Hubble Ultra Deep Field Image

The image above is the greatest image of the universe ever taken. What does that mean? Well it means a lot of things, most of which are beyond my feeble comprehension. What I do know, is that each speckle of light represents a galaxy. In this particular image we can see approximately 10,000 galaxies.

For reference, the galaxy that our beautiful planet is part of is known as the Milky Way. The Milky Way alone contains an estimated 200-400 billion stars. The most recognizable of which is our very own Sun, which lies at the center of our solar system. Now marinate on that for a moment.

That’s right. In our galaxy alone, the Sun is but one of hundreds of billions of stars. Now look back at the image and try to comprehend that each spec is a galaxy, the furthest of which, is over 13 billion light years away. How far is that exactly? You may want to take a seat first.

A light-year is a unit of length defined as: the distance light travels in a year. How fast/far does light travel exactly? Approximately 300,000 kilometers (or 186,000 miles) per second. Now take the number of seconds in an entire year and that my friends is the distance of one light year, or roughly:

9,460,730,472,580.8 km or 5,878,630,000,000 miles

Now take the distance above and multiply it by 13,000,000,000 and that is how far away one of the galaxies in the image above is.

Now sit back, relax, and watch the video below in awe:

One final morsel to chew on.

The image above, which so beautifully captures over 10,000 galaxies, is roughly equal to one thirteen-millionth of the total area of the sky. And it is estimated that there are more than 100 billion galaxies in the Universe.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE HIGH-RESOLUTION VERSION OF THE IMAGE ABOVE (warning it is 18mb in size)

Sources
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hubble_Ultra_Deep_Field
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milky_Way
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_year
http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2009/08/hell_yeah_hubble.php

If you enjoyed this article, the Sifter highly recommends: Star Gazing: The Darkest Skies in North America, home to the Texas Star Party