Sometimes the Abyss Stares Back

Astronomers have produced the largest, most comprehensive ‘history book’ of galaxies in the Universe, using 16 years’ worth of observations from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. The endeavor is called the Hubble Legacy Field. The image, a combination of nearly 7,500 separate Hubble exposures, contains roughly 265,000 galaxies and stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the Universe’s birth in the Big Bang.

Pictured: EVERYTHING

The Hubble Legacy Field combines observations taken by several Hubble deep-field surveys. In 1995, the Hubble Deep Field captured several thousand previously unseen galaxies. The subsequent Hubble Ultra Deep Field from 2004 revealed nearly 10,000 galaxies in a single image. The 2012 Hubble eXtreme Deep Field was assembled by combining ten years of Hubble observations taken of a patch of sky within the original Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

The new set of Hubble images, created from nearly 7,500 individual exposures, is the first in a series of Hubble Legacy Field images.

The Immense Heavens

Until now, the Milky Way was believed to be one galaxy in the 2,000 that make up what’s known as the Virgo Supercluster. But as a new three-dimensional star map shows, the Milky Way’s 100 billion stars are actually part of something 100 times bigger: a supercluster of galaxies astronomers have now christened Laniakea, meaning “immense heavens” in Hawaiian.

Get ready to have your mind REKT: