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A look at Astronomical photography - Never Seen Star Wars? (or the Milky Way) - part 2 of 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

by Mike McNamee Published 01/12/2016


Astronomy and photography are linked, and have been right from the start of photography (astronomy started well ahead of us), but the latest digital technologies are bringing more information right into the hands of the amateur astronomer even if they can never aspire to creating images such as those that Hubble can create. You might not be able to imagine what a trillion stars looks like but you can see the beauty in a star trail or a deep space image.

This is the backdrop to this feature; it is a simple journey to making the first steps in looking at the skies - really ‘looking’ not just glancing up from the polluted street in your average city. Your editor is uniquely unqualified for the task but with this ignorance comes the novice’s wondering of what it all means. The Milky Way is illusive even if there are 2,000 billion of them hanging around out there!


For the backdrop image printed here, among other data, scientists used the galaxies visible in the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) to recalculate the total number of galaxies in the observable Universe. The image was taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and covers a portion of the southern field of GOODS. This is a large galaxy census, a deep-sky study by several observatories to trace the formation and evolution of galaxies.

One of the most fundamental questions in astronomy is that of just how many galaxies the Universe contains. The Hubble Deep Field images, captured in the mid 1990s, gave the first real insight into this. Myriad faint galaxies were revealed, and it was estimated that the observable Universe contains between 100 to 200 billion galaxies. Now, an international team, led by Christopher Conselice from the University of Nottingham, UK, has shown that this figure is at least 10 times too low.

Image Credit NASA/ESA

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1st Published 01/12/2016
last update 30/01/2018 12:09:32

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Updated 30/01/2018 12:09:32 Last Modified: Tuesday, 30 January 2018