Hubble Takes Sharpest and Biggest Image of Andromeda Galaxy

Posted on January 6, 2015

Hubble releases largest image of Andromeda galaxy

The Hubble Space Telescope has taken the sharpest and biggest image ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy (M31). The image is also the biggest ever released from Hubble. It features over 100 million stars.

The Andromeda galaxy (also known as Messier 31) is 2.5 million light-years from Earth. The large spiral galaxy is over 40,000 light-years across. The panoramic image released by Hubble contains 1.5 billion pixels. NASA says it would take 600 HD television screens to display the entire image.

A larger version of the photograph is available here on spacetelescope.org, the official Hubble site. The enormous image is also zoomable. An animation that zooms in on the Andromeda galaxy can be found here.

Star clusters and star-forming regions are indicated by the large groups of blue stars in the image. Astronomers from ESA and NASA say in a release that the clarity of this Andromeda image will help them "interpret the light from the many galaxies that have a similar structure but lie much further away."

The Hubble is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The Hubble Site also recently revisited the "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula and released a new high def photograph.

Photo: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton (University of Washington, USA), B. F. Williams (University of Washington, USA), L. C. Johnson (University of Washington, USA), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler