Jaw-dropping image combines 32 years of Hubble telescope photos into one

Jaw-dropping image combines 32 years of Hubble telescope photos into one

NASA recently celebrated 32 years of Hubble observations. The space telescope was launched back in 1990. Since its launch, it has managed to complete over 1. 4 million observations. Casey Handmer, a physicist has combined all those observations to create one stunning image.

This is what all 1. 4 million Hubble observations look like together

And here’s one that’s a bit easier to see on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/dlNS5jbod3

— Casey Handmer, PhD (@CJHandmer) April 19, 2022

Handmer shared the image on Twitter back in April. It was originally shared in four parts. He later shared it in four pieces. However, he added another tweet that had all of his Hubble observations linked together.

This piece is stunning and serves as a reminder about how vast the sky is beyond our reach. In fact, Handmer says that Hubble hasn’t even managed to observe as much of the sky as you might think.

“Hubble’s field of view is 202 arc seconds,” Handmer explained on Twitter. As such, he says that it would take around 3. 2 million observations to completely cover the sky. At that point in time, over 1. 4 million Hubble observations had been completed. As such, the telescope must have captured as least half of the sky, right?

Not exactly. While Hubble has taken more than 1. 4 million observations, it oftentimes observes one area multiple times. Curious about how much Hubble has actually seen, Handmer gathered data from Astropy.org and began compiling it into an image. In total, he says that Hubble has only seen around . 8 percent of the sky so far.

Why has Hubble seen so little?

If Hubble has already completed half of the observations that it would need to cover the sky, why has so little been observed? There are many reasons. The first is that Hubble was not designed by NASA to conduct wide-field survey. As such, the observations it has undergone are much more focused. Some parts of the sky are more interesting than others.

Some Hubble observations may also take longer than others, Handmer explained. And that isn’t even accounting for the number of repeated observations of interesting areas. No matter how you slice it, though, the point is NASA didn’t design Hubble to map the entire sky. Instead, the agency designed it to capture snapshots of specific places. To study our universe more in-depth.

It is meant to be a means to examine specific points of interest within the night sky. This includes galaxies colliding, black holes and other celestial anomalies which can be used to help us learn more about the universe.

The image below gives you a good idea about the Hubble observations that have been made so far. And, if you follow the curved line through the center, you can actually see a representation of repeated observations that have taken place through the Solar System.

Despite the fact that Hubble has only explored so little of our sky, seeing this image and all those Hubble observations together is almost mind-blowing. Just in the past 32 years, mankind has made massive strides in learning about the universe beyond our small planet.

And, with new instruments like the James Webb telescope, those strides will no doubt continue in the future.

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