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The Deepest Photo Ever Taken

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the whoah-dude-that's-deeeeep dept.

Space 218

Astroturtle writes "Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope's powerful new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) have taken the deepest visible-light image ever made of the sky. The 3.5-day (84-hour) exposure captures stars as faint as 31st magnitude, according to Tom M. Brown (Space Telescope Science Institute), who headed the eight-person team that took the picture."

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This is the first? Can't be! (3, Funny)

MrP- (45616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929003)

I thought the Goatse man was the deepest photo ever taken. :P

(Sorry, federal law requires that this joke be made.)

Re:This is the first? Can't be! (0, Offtopic)

DrDaman (538661) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929008)

2nd, we hope

article (3, Informative)

CowBovNeal (672450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929007)

May 7, 2003 | Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope's powerful new Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) have taken the deepest visible-light image ever made of the sky.

The 3.5-day (84-hour) exposure captures stars as faint as 31st magnitude, according to Tom M. Brown (Space Telescope Science Institute), who headed the eight-person team that took the picture. This is a little more than 1 magnitude (2.5 times) fainter than the epochal Hubble Deep Fields, which were made with the Hubble's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2. It is 6 billion times fainter than what can be seen with the naked eye.

Brown and his colleagues chose to point at a spot 1 southeast of M31, the Great Andromeda Galaxy, in order to get a census of faint stars populating M31's outer halo. The full ACS image is about 3.1 arcminutes square, the size of a sand grain held at arm's length against the sky. The ACS magnifies this small field into a vast panorama of some 300,000 stars and thousands of faint background galaxies. At M31's distance of 2.5 million light-years, the faintest of the stars are slightly less luminous than our Sun. A large fraction of the most distant galaxies appear patchy and irregular, testimony to the collisions and mergers in the early universe that built up the familiar galaxies we see closer around us today.

Most of the stars in the image indeed proved to be in M31's halo, judging from their colors and brightnesses. Moreover, they show a surprisingly wide range of estimated ages -- from 6 to 13 billion years, compared to 11 to 13 billion years for our Milky Way's halo stars. Perhaps M31 has captured and torn apart younger dwarf galaxies than our Milky Way has done. Or perhaps M31 underwent a massive, disruptive merger with a single large galaxy billions of years ago; in this scenario some of M31's younger disk stars could have been flung into its halo. Or maybe some combination of these events triggered waves of star formation in regions that ended up in M31's outer fringes.

The image was made in two colors: near-infrared and "visual" (a band spanning the part of the spectrum running from yellow through green). The renditions displayed here were crafted to resemble true-color views by interpolating from these two colors. These vignettes each show only about 1 percent of the ACS image. The full image is available from the Hubble Telescope's press site at various qualities and sizes (up to 128 megabytes), along with more highlights and a finder chart showing its relation to M31.

Plans are afoot for an even deeper "Ultra-Deep Field," which will use ACS for longer exposures in four colors and go slightly fainter still.

Re:article (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929134)

thanks Taco!!

Re:article (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929330)

Again, this guy's name is CowbovNeal, not CowboyNeal. He's attempting to collect karma points, probably so that he can troll the site. Moderators, please take those points back away from him.

How? (0, Flamebait)

r84x (650348) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929021)

How did they take this over 3.5 days? Didn't the sun get in the way? Last time I checked, only regions north of the arctic circle get no light for a few days, and that only occurs at specific times of year, so... what gives?

Re:How? (1)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929041)

The photo was taken by hubble, it's in orbit around Earth.

Re:How? (1, Insightful)

r84x (650348) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929054)

Ah, yes, my bad, that will teach me to read an article that fast. My apologies to all who had to see my stupid question.

All in all... (4, Interesting)

skogs (628589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929069)

It is still pretty incredible...pointing an object the size of a bus and accurately focusing it on something the size of a spec of sand...really, really, really far away. All while moving at a relative 26,000 miles an hour or whatever to keep it up in the sky...Not to mention the orbial speed of the earth itself... Only took 8 guys, several computers, and millions of dollars worth of equipment. Oh yeah, and that one maintenance run made a few years back to keep it pointing straight.

Re:All in all... (3, Informative)

plip (630579) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929384)


Not Several Millions, we're talking Billions...

According to http://hubble.nasa.gov/faq.html [nasa.gov] it cost $1.5 billion Plus another $230-250 million each year for maintenence. Estimated costs to fix the lens problem on the telescope were $20 million. Since the Hubble was launched in 1990 and is planned to operate until 2010, that's $230M per year for 20 years = $4.6 Billion + the $1.5 Billion initial cost. That's a total cost of operation equal to $6.1 Billion (low estimate that doesn't include the cost of engineering and scientific knowledge needed for this to happen).

In my opinion, the information it sends back is priceless to humanity, and well worth whatever cost it takes.

Re:How? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929095)

...idiot

3.5 Day Exposure? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Canard (594978) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929023)

Imagine a Beowulf... um. Seriously, how do you cope with reciprocity failure in a 3.5 day exposure. I would have thought that stray heat or electron flow would turn the whole image to static with such a long exposure. HST must consist of unfathomably cool (literally and figuratively) electronics.

Re:3.5 Day Exposure? (5, Insightful)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929056)

...and it is, hubble has some type of cryogenic cooler onboard. At least according to an article in Sky and Space magazine (it's an australian one AFAIK) a while back that talked about all the extra stuff that was put on hubble last time a shuttle stopped by to maintain it.

Re:3.5 Day Exposure? (1)

roseblood (631824) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929079)

And, to think I used to complain about having to get the tripod out for exposures that were longer than 1/8th of a second! I'll never comlpain about slow film or lenses again!

and NASA couldn't afford 1600... (4, Funny)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929088)

And, to think I used to complain about having to get the tripod out for exposures that were longer than 1/8th of a second! I'll never comlpain about slow film or lenses again!

Yeah, and you'd think NASA could afford 1600 ASA film for the price they paid for hubble...
I mean geez!

Re:3.5 Day Exposure? (5, Informative)

deathcow (455995) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929115)

Astrophotos are commonly made by combining many shorter exposures. Each additional exposure improves the signal to noise ratio yielding progressively greater detail.

As far as color and reciprocity, Hubble color shots are not always as the eye sees them. The famous "pillars of creation" shot for example, presented the light from oxygen ionization in one color, the light from sulfur ionization in another color, the light from hydogren ionization in another color.

Re:3.5 Day Exposure? (5, Informative)

Liquid Tip (672473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929158)

CCDs do not suffer from Reciprocity failure like film does. However there are other problems that will turn long exposures into junk (such as cosmic rays as HST is not sheltered by the earths atmosphere!). So many shorter exposures are taken and then coadded to make a 3.5 day exposure.

"Deep" Photo (0, Offtopic)

Landaras (159892) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929026)

Regarding "deep" photos, might a goatse link actually be on topic for once?

No, I'm not going to provide it...

Re:"Deep" Photo (1, Redundant)

shamilton (619422) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929031)

They took it from space.

What I find fascinating is that they were able to keep the telescope still for that long. With a field of view that low, even microscopic rotations could ruin the shot.

Re:"Deep" Photo (0)

Landaras (159892) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929065)

I'm fully aware that they took it from space.

I was trying to be humorous :).

Re:"Deep" Photo (1)

shamilton (619422) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929112)

Whoops, I replied to the wrong post. First time for me.

Re:"Deep" Photo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929033)

I beat you =P

Re:"Deep" Photo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929037)

you dont need to provide it. Your a living proof of it.

Re:"Deep" Photo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929177)

offtopic? For once this is actually on topic.

Commence with the porn jokes! (0, Redundant)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929027)

Let's do a preemptive strike and declare all the impending idiotic Slashbot porn jokes to be ineffective, unclever, and the most obvious route to take.

You're not funny! Don't do it; hold yourself back!

Re:Commence with the porn jokes! (0, Offtopic)

PS-SCUD (601089) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929047)

"Don't do it; hold yourself back!" But it's so HARD to.

Re:Commence with the porn jokes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929058)

well said, please try and hold the goatse jokes down to a minimum

Re:Commence with the porn jokes! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929167)

i do NOT want to know what your holding onto.

It would be interesting to know... (3, Interesting)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929034)

Just how many photons they detected for the faintest star.

Re:It would be interesting to know... (3, Informative)

I'm a racist. (631537) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929120)

I haven't read the article, but I do have a degree in astrophysics, so I can guide you in how to calculate it.

There are a few different ways of measuring magnitude (apparent, bolometric, etc). Bolometric is essentially the integral over all wavelengths. I'm guessing they didn't do a real bolometric measurement, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, the relationship between intensity (I) and apparent magnitude (m) is
m = -[19 + (2.5).log(I)]
Intensity is in units of power/area, such as W/m^2 or ergs/cm^2 (cgs units are oddly popular in astronomy).

If they did do a bolometric measurement, you can pretty easily manipulate this relationship to reflect that.

Now, from the power, knowing the wavelength(s), and using the fact that the energy per photon is the frequency times Planck's constant... and thus you can find the number of photons per unit time per unit area. Which, when coupled with the known exposure time, will give you the total number of photons.

Re:It would be interesting to know... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929292)

How can you, having studied astronomy, having an understanding of the vastness of space, still participate in such worthless endeavors as racism? How can you consider that important, worthwhile, or right?

Fuck off Racist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929365)

It's a shame that someone with such a grasp of maths is so stupid to think that because his skin is white, that makes him better than people with darker skin. Just shows you ain't really that 'smart'.

Re:It would be interesting to know... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929408)

I see that you hate Jews as well as non-whites. So what is your opinion on Albert Einstein, since he was a Jew? Is he inferior to you because of this simple fact?

MOD PARENT DOWN. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929450)

Moderators: Please don't encourage this guy in any way, even if this comment of his may very well contribute to the technical discussion.

He doesn't deserve positive karma until he learns some respect. When he learns to treat people of all colors as he wishes to be treated himself, then perhaps he can contribute to the discussion in a worthwhile manner.

What goes around, comes around. Paranoid delusions about people of other races (sexes / political and religious beliefs) are so 1700's and have no place in an advanced civilisation.

Better - MOD CHILD UP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929463)

AC is absolutely right. Please mod up.

Re:It would be interesting to know... (5, Informative)

Liquid Tip (672473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929277)

The best way is to download the processed HST images and see what the count rate is for a faint star. Then multiply by the gain (in the header of the image) which will give you the number of photons detected. A way to guestimate the number of photons is to compare the flux of the faintest star with the Sun. At the Earth's distance the Sun has a flux of 1.36x10^6 erg s-1 cm-2 and the apparent mag of the sun is V=-26.8. If we assume that we have a star with V=31 mag (the 50% completeness level is V=30.7 mag) then the flux recieved from the star is given by: F2/F1 = 100^((m1-m2)/5) where F1 and m1 are the flux and magnitude of the sun and F2 and m1 refer to the star. This gives 1.03x10^-17 erg s-1 cm-2. Convert the ergs into photons by the de Broglie frequency (E=hv) where we assume that a V-band photon has a wavelength of 550nm or a frequency of 5*10^14 s-1. Thus, each photon carries 3.61x10^-12 ergs which gives a rate of 2.85x10^-6 photons s-1 cm-2. So a 3.5 day exposure is 302400 secs and HST has an aperature of 240 cm so we get about 50000 photons at the entrance of the telescope. Remember.. detection of these sources means having a low background so that these photons are not lost in noise! I should also point out that HST does not leave the shutter open continuously for 3.5Hs, instead it takes a series of short exposures that are co-added. I hope this helps (and doesn't freak people out!)

Re:It would be interesting to know... (1)

thynk (653762) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929377)

Ummmmm... so is that a lot or something? :)

*takes lense off* (1)

gnujoshua (540710) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929044)

What fstop was that?

WOW (0, Troll)

oaf357 (661305) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929049)

That is some very wild looking photography. I wonder if I could download the entire pic and use it as a wallpaper (I'm kidding).

Re:WOW (1)

jarrell (545407) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929191)

Yea. The hubble site [hubblesite.org] has it in multiple formats. The 738K "large print" format would make a decent bit of wall paper, but if you're a masochist, or just really into astronomy, you can tweak your own from the 127Meg raw tiff...

The good side of S.A.R.S. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929051)

I was thinking about SARS, and I actually think that a world SARS epedemy could solve a lot.

Why is that? Well - I'm speaking of a cynical point of view.

During the 80'ies and 90'ies Denmark has been recognized to be the best country in the world in terms of social welfare. But a new problem is rising in Denmark. The workers that made great welfare in the 80'ies are beginning to age and retire, but they have been lazy in terms of breeding.
I was born in 1984, and I am currently under education. Already now, I can feel problems. The government is cutting everywhere - including education. Why? Possibly because the number of workers in Denmark is steadily dropping, and our former workers are transforming into retired seniors. Now these seniors don't contribute anymore, they're an expense, since they receive social retirement money. Over $1.000 pr. month.
This means, when I am going into the working market - becoming an adult, I'll probably have to work more and pay more tax than my parents - all to finance the growing group of elderly people.
Why is this group representing a bigger share of the population than before? Well - people have less children than 50 years ago, and they live longer due to scientific/medical evolution.

So where does SARS step in?

We'll - if we look at it from a pure cynical view, SARS supposedly kills 30-50% of seniors infected, while only 3-6% of young people infected has to go....
I'm just picturing a blooming economy, a reduction in work, better schools, better hospitals, better healthcare, lower rent / more housing available, etc... The current danish state is going downhill because of the growing amount of old people. Why the hell didn't they have more children? Why didn't they secure the future economy? I feel let down by the older society...

Yes, it is egoistic, but the danish society was perfectly aware in the 70'ies that problems was arising within the next 30 years due to the falling number of births, but they chose to spend money here and now, and look. This is only the top of the iceberg. The worker/senior rate will top in 2015. So somehow, I would welcome SARS, as it solves a great threat to the danish economy. Most likely all seniors will disagree with me, but that's just their point of view.

So I am asking you? Would you prefer a world wide SARS epidemy, if you could choose?

Details on the exposure techniques? (4, Interesting)

d-rock (113041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929059)

3.4 day exposure? Even for a space-based platform, that has to be really stable to produce a good image. Does anyone out there have any info on how they maneuver the telescope to keep it pointing at the same point while minimizing shifts in the field?

Derek

Re:Details on the exposure techniques? (2, Informative)

ChadN (21033) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929096)

While I'm no expert, I believe the answer is simply "gyroscopes". Very good ones, I'm sure. Also, they use reference stars to correct the gyroscopes when they drift.

Re:Details on the exposure techniques? (5, Informative)

deathcow (455995) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929102)

Many spacecraft have small jets that push them into different positions in space. Hubble has no jets because the exhaust gas from jets could damage its delicate mirrors. Instead, Hubble uses momentum to move.

When Hubble needs to move to a new target, engineers on Earth radio a signal to the HST flight computer. The flight computer then activates the Reaction Wheels.

Reaction wheels are heavy fly wheels that spin. As they spin, the momentum from their motion causes the telescope to move. There are four Reaction Wheels. By spinning each one at a certain speed and in a certain direction, engineers can point the telescop e anywhere they want.

Actually, rotates, not moves (4, Informative)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929163)

As they spin, the momentum from their motion causes the telescope to move.

Well, it's techincally a litter different than that. The wheels don't actually cause hubble to translate within a plane. Instead they rotate hubble. By turning the spinning wheels, a torque is exerted on hubble, causing it to rotate.

neurostar

Re:Details on the exposure techniques? (4, Interesting)

d-rock (113041) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929200)

Interesting. I was actually thinking more along the lines of automatic compensation, but I hadn't even thought about gyroscopes vs. impulse jets. I poked around a little on the hubble site for the instrumentation and flight computer and I found the handbooks for the instruments at this site [stsci.edu] . Appearently, the gyroscopes are used for coarse motion detection and the FGS uses constellational guidance. The manuals actually make a pretty interesting read.

On a side note, a constellational guidance is related to how head mount displays like UNC's HiBall [unc.edu] work.


Derek

Re:Details on the exposure techniques? (4, Informative)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929271)

3.4 days is the effective exposure time, from stacking many shorter exposures. If HST integrated for 3.4 days without reading out the CCD, the entire chip would be saturated with cosmic rays, not to mention the fact that the Earth is typically in the way for half the orbit(*), limiting individual exposure times to about an hour or so.

(*) except for a small patch of sky called the CVZ: continuously visible zone

BTW, if you're keeping score at home, 30th magnitude is 1 trillion times fainter than the human eye can see!

[*shameless plug* Tom Brown is using my thesis code to analyze these data :) ]

Re:Details on the exposure techniques? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929413)

The full ACS image is about 3.1 arcminutes square, the size of a sand grain held at arm's length against the sky.

I downloaded this very large image. Wow...

There are so many stars and so many galaxies in that expansive image. What really strikes me is to try and imagine if I held up a grain of sand and it could somehow act as a lense into my brain that allowed my mind to see that image/all that detail, then to move across the night sky. There's so much out there, what is visibly represented is mind boggling to me, and that is probably just a small fraction of reality.

As some dumb little monkey in the big big world of ours which I'm confronted with every day. Things like this are really humbling. I feel so infinitesimally tiny and insignificant. I only wish I had time enough in this realm to really explore and truely understand its nature.

Impressive (-1, Offtopic)

antis0c (133550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929077)

I'm glad they finally were able to top the Dildo Cam.

Where is CowboyNeal? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929091)

Is it true that he was arrested and charged with over 6,234 counts of sodomy? I hope not because sodomy is sickening.

Shameless karma whoring: (4, Informative)

bertok (226922) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929097)

Direct link to the full-resolution JPEG. (~4.9MB)

http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2003/15/images/ a/formats/full_jpg.jpg [hubblesite.org]

Re:Shameless karma whoring: (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929130)

The image "http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2003/15/images /a/formats/full_jpg.jpg" cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Man, that is high resolution!

Re:Shameless karma whoring: (5, Funny)

Biogenesis (670772) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929164)

Thanks for the links, i've got it downloading in a new tab ri Segmentation Fault

Idiotic resolution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929208)

Or you can download the 738.4 kB version [hubblesite.org] and do the pixel doubling yourself.

Re:Shameless karma whoring: (1)

adamruck (638131) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929322)

well I waited for the whole thing to download and it looks like every other hubble picture ive seen just a whole lot bigger. Guess it shows im not an astronomer.

Re:Shameless karma whoring: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929331)

Wow. Mozilla hasn't shit it's pants yet - but it also hasn't finished downloading.

Can't resist... (0, Funny)

moertle (140345) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929100)

... who headed the eight-person team that took the picture ...
So how many astronomers does it take to change a light bulb?

hubblesite.org news release (4, Informative)

SILIZIUMM (241333) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929101)

See also the press release [hubblesite.org] with tons of photos. Enjoy your new wallpaper ! :)

daaaammn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929359)

i just set the wallpaper to the 4 MB .jpg and X took it. it is amazing

hubblesite.org (5, Informative)

zaneIO (606505) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929104)

Here is a link to a higher resolution image.
Hubblesite.org [hubblesite.org]

...hubblesite.org collapses into a singularity (4, Funny)

Leeji (521631) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929157)

For the love of all things scientific, have mercy on their 122MB TIFF image.

And to think that we've turned servers into slag by Slashdotting a 43kb page. [slashdot.org]

Hubble blows my mind (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929124)



. . .and the wind blows my brain. I am so high right now.

exposure time misleading (5, Informative)

jeffrey1681 (148195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929136)

The image is not actually a single exposure of 3.5 days in duration, but is actually made from 250 separate exposures taken from Dec. 2 to Jan. 11, 2003. The total exposure time was 3.5 days.

For those who are interested, the original hubble press release is located here [hubblesite.org] .

The site includes the image in a variety of different formats, including a 123 MB tiff file.

Philosophy: The Deepest Thought Ever Thunk (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929143)

Aristotle writes: "Philosophers using the Bubble Head Telescope's powerful new Advanced Cognition for Sophistry (ACS) have taken the deepest thought ever thunk. The 3.5-day (84-hour) idea captures notions as powerful as 31 SBU (Silent Bob Units), according to Plato (The Platonic Academy), who headed the eight-person team that contemplated the thought."

Streaks (2, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929159)

If you look at the image, there are some odd streaks that go from red to blue (or blue to red).

I'm just curious here, what are they? I thought maybe it could be a bit of space debris that whizzed in front of the camera, but with an exposure of 3.4 days, the streak would go from one side or another.

What moves that far in 3.4 days? A comet? A meteor? A star?

And that big bright cluster in the lower bottom, what's that? It looks pretty close galaxy-wise.

It's a neat pic for sure, a little blurry, which makes it less jawdropping than other hubble efforts but makes sense for a 3.4 day exposure.

Note - I didn't make any goatse or Uranus crack this whole post. You're welcome.

Re:Streaks (2, Interesting)

localghost (659616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929247)

If you look at the image, there are some odd streaks that go from red to blue (or blue to red).
I'm just curious here, what are they? I thought maybe it could be a bit of space debris that whizzed in front of the camera, but with an exposure of 3.4 days, the streak would go from one side or another.


The streaks are probably something that moved, though some of them seem brighter in the center, which would indicate it was oscillating. I'm not exactly sure. Anything could move any distance in 3.4 days.

And that big bright cluster in the lower bottom, what's that? It looks pretty close galaxy-wise.

The bright cluster is probably a globular cluster, which is a tight grouping of old stars. It's most likely in our galaxy.

It's a neat pic for sure, a little blurry, which makes it less jawdropping than other hubble efforts but makes sense for a 3.4 day exposure.

Scale it down and it's definitely not blurry. At least not the 6116x7014 image.

lower bottom

What the hell?

Re:Globular Cluster (1)

Kotetsu (135021) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929306)

Actually, if you read the article, that globular cluster is actually one of M31's clusters. The brightest globulars around M31 are about 13th magnitude, so they are visible in amateur telescopes (although they look like faint stars).

It does show impressively how good the resolution of the photograph is.

Re:Globular Cluster (1)

localghost (659616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929342)

The article was slashdotted, so I just guessed from pictures. It was hard to tell, but it looked like it was in front of the galaxy. I know nothing about astronomy, though.

Re:Streaks (5, Informative)

Liquid Tip (672473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929311)

The "streaks" centering on stars are diffration spikes from the secondary mirror support. The colour alternates as different wavelenghts cause different diffration spacings.

The big bright cluster is actually a member of Andromedae (M31). Very impressive! The appearance of fuzziness is because the CCD oversamples the resolution of the telescope - which is necessary for good photometry - if you want it "sharp" then just bin the pixels by 2x2 or 3x3 or whatever looks best!

What's up with the points? (3, Interesting)

Jerf (17166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929185)

Something I've wondered for a while... what's up with the points coming off the stars? I've always accepted it when I see it with my own eyes because I don't expect my own eyes to be optically perfect, so I always thought it was distortion, but looking at the full image [hubblesite.org] I see that the brightest stars once again have points coming off of them in four directions. Typically they are directly up, down, left, and right, but in that image, they appear to be about five to ten degrees off that.

The biggest example I see is about 3/4s of the way to the right and about 1/5 of the way down on the image, where there is a huge-looking star.

Why four points? Why do we see them even when the star itself is not in the picture (look on the top border for examples, like the one almost directly in the middle)? I guess I would expect that if the light source is too bright the spread would be in a circular formation and simply blur the star, not blur it in just those four directions so much stronger then the rest.

Is it just QM at play? If so, why it is almost always directly up, down, left, and right, instead of random and perhaps even changing over time directions (which probably would get right back to simply looking blurred)? Detector flaws?

It's due to the way telescopes are built. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929224)

Modern optical/IR/UV telescopes typically have a large primary mirror, which reflects light back to a smaller secondary, which reflects the light through a small hole in the primary to the detectors. The secondary is supported by little rods. It is diffraction of light by those supports which cause stars to have distorted shapes.

(Astronomers understand the diffraction issues very well... it's usually not a problem; it just looks weird.)

- A friendly neighborhood astrophysicist

Re:What's up with the points? (2, Informative)

jeffrey1681 (148195) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929297)

Almost all modern optical/IR/X-ray telescopes use a CCD to capture the light that is incident on the telescope. Each pixel in the CCD can hold a certain number of electrons (which are produced when a photon hits the pixel). When that number is exceeded, usually through too many photons hitting the same pixel as in this case, the electrons spill over into the surrounding pixels. This is called blooming and produces the spikes that you see in the image. So basically, the spikes mean that the star is overexposed.

Not all scopes exhibit diffraction spikes. (5, Informative)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929350)

Something I've wondered for a while... what's up with the points coming off the stars?

As was mentioned in another post, those are diffraction spikes from the supports for the secondary mirror.

Newtonian reflectors [celestron.com] and classical Cassegrain [centurytel.net] telescopes support their secondary mirror with "spiders" that produce diffraction spikes. There have been various efforts over the years to eliminate these from that type of telescope. One method is to seal the tube with an optical flat (a flat piece of optical glass) which supports the mirror. The trade-offs include longer times for the scopes to reach temperature equilibrium, distortion from imperfections in the optical figure of the flat, and slight light loss. Other attempts have included the use of spiders with curved support arms [1800destiny.com] , which reduce or eliminates spikes at the cost of slightly degraded overall image contrast.

Other telescope types, such as refractors [centurytel.net] , Maksutovs [centurytel.net] , Schmidt-Cassegrains [cuny.edu] , and Yolo reflectors [k12.wv.us] have no diffraction spikes, but they are all more optically complex (Yolos, for instance, require toroidal mirrors) and are more difficult to produce as a result. Refractors have the added problem of chromatic abberation, which is the fringing of color on the edge of bright objects. Various complex, multi-element objectives have been developed to reduce, or even practically eliminate, this problem. The problems are optical complexity, cost, and light loss. Figuring a 3-element objective lens for a refractor means grinding six optical surfaces with precise curves. Compare that to a Newtonian which has a single parabolic primary mirror and a flat optical secondary.

There are many other telescope types than the few popular types I mentioned here and each have their proponents. Most designs that have survived the test of time can be made to perform well, but each has trade-offs.

Very impressed... (2, Insightful)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929186)

I know there are countless galaxies out there...but they are so far away, I was extremely surprised at how many galaxies I could see in the big 4MB JPEG.

Re:Very impressed... (5, Interesting)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929367)

Actually, the really unique thing about this image is the stellar populations. The stars you see in the image are almost all in the Andromeda galaxy (aka M 31), seen here [darkhorizons.org] .

M 31 is 2.2 million light-years away. This is the galaxy that Hubble originally resolved into stars, thereby settling the Shapley-Curtis debate [nasa.gov] on the true scale of the Universe. However, the stars Hubble saw were the very brightest supergiants in M 31. In this HST image, we see stars 2 magnitudes fainter than the ancient main-sequence turn-off; i.e., stars which are intrinsically fainter than our Sun! This lets us learn a lot about the ages and chemical composition of M 31's halo stars, which turn out to be quite different from the stars in our halo (our halo is entirely composed of ancient, metal-poor stars; M 31's halo contains stars that are only 6 Gyr old, and much more metal-rich than our halo).

I heard Tom Brown give a talk on this work last week; very cool stuff.

This has to be the most expensive (5, Funny)

jkauzlar (596349) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929210)

desktop background ever created :) Its sure worth the effort, however!

4 words... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929220)

Who gives a fuck?

Re:4 words... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929245)

5 words for you...

I'm not wearing any pants.

The full size TIFF screensaver? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929230)

I just thought about how detailed the full size pic is, and how to appreciate that without a poster printer. I'd like to see something similar to osx's default screensavers (with the softly zooming pictures of trees/beach, etc) and have it use this picture.

I'd like to see it zoom in to the picture, while also changing x/y of the camera on a spline (etc). And each time choose a different starting point, and make it's speed adjustable.

All of those high-res pics are beautiful! maybe i'm 'a gonna dust off the 'gl..

So awesome it's philosophical. (4, Insightful)

glrotate (300695) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929234)

The grandeur of such an image almost forces one to reasses their place in the world. To think that the area in the photograph is equivalent to the area covered by a grain of sand at arms length is mindnumbing. The universe is unbelieveably amazing.

Re:So awesome it's philosophical. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929445)

The grandeur of such an image almost forces one to reasses their place in the world...The universe is unbelieveably amazing.

That's excatly what I said when I saw goatse.

Re:So awesome it's philosophical. (1)

thynk (653762) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929451)

Yeah, Kinda makes me feel really small and meaningless, but at the same time - glad to be a part of something so beaufiful.

(translated into redneckeese: Yup, shore is purdy.)

Bring out the telescope mirrors! (1)

migstradamus (472166) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929266)

"Your Web browser appears to be set to block cookies. SkyandTelescope.com requires a cookie file, though you may visit the site without supplying any personal information, rendering the cookie anonymous. If you believe you reached this page in error, try clicking one of the links below to access our site."

Developer collapse: What Killed FreeBSD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929273)

The End of FreeBSD

[ed. note: in the following text, former FreeBSD developer Mike Smith gives his reasons for abandoning FreeBSD]

When I stood for election to the FreeBSD core team nearly two years ago, many of you will recall that it was after a long series of debates during which I maintained that too much organisation, too many rules and too much formality would be a bad thing for the project.

Today, as I read the latest discussions on the future of the FreeBSD project, I see the same problem; a few new faces and many of the old going over the same tired arguments and suggesting variations on the same worthless schemes. Frankly I'm sick of it.

FreeBSD used to be fun. It used to be about doing things the right way. It used to be something that you could sink your teeth into when the mundane chores of programming for a living got you down. It was something cool and exciting; a way to spend your spare time on an endeavour you loved that was at the same time wholesome and worthwhile.

It's not anymore. It's about bylaws and committees and reports and milestones, telling others what to do and doing what you're told. It's about who can rant the longest or shout the loudest or mislead the most people into a bloc in order to legitimise doing what they think is best. Individuals notwithstanding, the project as a whole has lost track of where it's going, and has instead become obsessed with process and mechanics.

So I'm leaving core. I don't want to feel like I should be "doing something" about a project that has lost interest in having something done for it. I don't have the energy to fight what has clearly become a losing battle; I have a life to live and a job to keep, and I won't achieve any of the goals I personally consider worthwhile if I remain obligated to care for the project.

Discussion

I'm sure that I've offended some people already; I'm sure that by the time I'm done here, I'll have offended more. If you feel a need to play to the crowd in your replies rather than make a sincere effort to address the problems I'm discussing here, please do us the courtesy of playing your politics openly.

From a technical perspective, the project faces a set of challenges that significantly outstrips our ability to deliver. Some of the resources that we need to address these challenges are tied up in the fruitless metadiscussions that have raged since we made the mistake of electing officers. Others have left in disgust, or been driven out by the culture of abuse and distraction that has grown up since then. More may well remain available to recruitment, but while the project is busy infighting our chances for successful outreach are sorely diminished.

There's no simple solution to this. For the project to move forward, one or the other of the warring philosophies must win out; either the project returns to its laid-back roots and gets on with the work, or it transforms into a super-organised engineering project and executes a brilliant plan to deliver what, ultimately, we all know we want.

Whatever path is chosen, whatever balance is struck, the choosing and the striking are the important parts. The current indecision and endless conflict are incompatible with any sort of progress.

Trying to dissect the above is far beyond the scope of any parting shot, no matter how distended. All I can really ask of you all is to let go of the minutiae for a moment and take a look at the big picture. What is the ultimate goal here? How can we get there with as little overhead as possible? How would you like to be treated by your fellow travellers?

Shouts

To the Slashdot "BSD is dying" crowd - big deal. Death is part of the cycle; take a look at your soft, pallid bodies and consider that right this very moment, parts of you are dying. See? It's not so bad.

To the bulk of the FreeBSD committerbase and the developer community at large - keep your eyes on the real goals. It's when you get distracted by the politickers that they sideline you. The tireless work that you perform keeping the system clean and building is what provides the platform for the obsessives and the prima donnas to have their moments in the sun. In the end, we need you all; in order to go forwards we must first avoid going backwards.

To the paranoid conspiracy theorists - yes, I work for Apple too. No, my resignation wasn't on Steve's direct orders, or in any way related to work I'm doing, may do, may not do, or indeed what was in the tea I had at lunchtime today. It's about real problems that the project faces, real problems that the project has brought upon itself. You can't escape them by inventing excuses about outside influence, the problem stems from within.

To the politically obsessed - give it a break, if you can. No, the project isn't a lemonade stand anymore, but it's not a world-spanning corporate juggernaut either and some of the more grandiose visions going around are in need of a solid dose of reality. Keep it simple, stupid.

To the grandstanders, the prima donnas, and anyone that thinks that they can hold the project to ransom for their own agenda - give it a break, if you can. When the current core were elected, we took a conscious stand against vigorous sanctions, and some of you have exploited that. A new core is going to have to decide whether to repeat this mistake or get tough. I hope they learn from our errors.

Future

I started work on FreeBSD because it was fun. If I'm going to continue, it has to be fun again. There are things I still feel obligated to do, and with any luck I'll find the time to meet those obligations.

However I don't feel an obligation to get involved in the political mess the project is in right now. I tried, I burnt out. I don't feel that my efforts were worthwhile. So I won't be standing for election, I won't be shouting from the sidelines, and I probably won't vote in the next round of ballots.

You could say I'm packing up my toys. I'm not going home just yet, but I'm not going to play unless you can work out how to make the project somewhere fun to be again.

= Mike

--

To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public. -- Theodore Roosevelt

Man... (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929283)

...and I can't even find my keys!

the deepest photo that will *ever* be taken (3, Informative)

dh003i (203189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929286)

Will be about 20 billion light years, since we think the universe is about 20 billion years old.

For an interesting article, see:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?colID=1&article ID =000F1EDD-B48A-1E90-8EA5809EC5880000

On parallel universes. Very interesting reading. If you're at a university, you will be able to browse the site's archives and access the nice PDF version of the article (which has the pictures supersized to full-page size).

Out of date knowledge (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929366)

I believe the current estimates are 13.5 or 14 billion years, and have been for a couple of years.

Re:Out of date knowledge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929394)

don't worry that this kid's MO; posting out of date or inaccurate "Facts" to get modded up

Re:the deepest photo that will *ever* be taken (4, Informative)

LMCBoy (185365) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929407)

You're right, if you take deepest image to mean "image of most distant objects" instead of "faintest objects". However, the Universe is 13.7 Gyr old, not 20 Gyr.

Here's your deepest image then:
http://map.gsfc.nasa.gov/m_ig/020598/020598 _ilc_64 0.jpg

That's from the recent WMAP mission, which mapped the cosmic microwave background in exquisite detail, pinpointing the age of the Universe (and many other cosmological parameters) to high precision. You're looking at an all-sky image of the Universe as it looked when it was 100,000 years old, and became transparent for the first time. IOW, you are literally seeing the fires of creation.

Wow... I love science (1)

doormat (63648) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929291)

And to think any one of those smaller stars could have a planet orbiting it.. with its own culture and civilization and technology. Wow...

Damn, (5, Funny)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929293)

I'd hate to have to hold my finger on the button for that long without shaking the camera.

*This is a lame joke*

A Galaxy ... (1)

BobLenon (67838) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929323)

So I dl'd the huge tiff. Awesomeness. But I cant quite see that Galaxy...

Long, Long ago, far, far away ...

Rifed with Intergaltic Civil War.

Sorry, I mean Gentrification.

I guess 25 Million (?) light years just isnt enough ;(

Mirror of full JPG (5, Informative)

idiot900 (166952) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929335)

[wustl.edu]
http://wuarchive.wustl.edu/users/tom/mirrors/hub bl e/full_jpg.jpg

is a mirror of the full JPEG - about 5M. Enjoy.

duh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929338)

ok.. now if I was an editor for slashdot, or if I was writing a story for slashdot... the "deep" and "picture" would be about my last choice of words for the title. I mean come on.. do these people really think about possible responses to thier articles?

Big Picture... (5, Interesting)

HobbitGod42 (568144) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929355)

Does anyone know if there is a BitTorrent file out for the 128mb TIFF? the nasa servers are a bit slow and I feel my hardware cycles and bandwidth could be of use...

122.75 MB TIFF and More! (2, Informative)

Nintendork (411169) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929372)

This is the official site [hubblesite.org] where the photos are.

-Lucas

My Napster doesn't seem to be working! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5929424)

boobies boobies voodoo boobies

mmmmm... (1)

djocyko (214429) | more than 11 years ago | (#5929431)

Milky Way....
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