If you’ve ever been to an area where the night sky is clearly visible and could distinguish between stars and constellations, you’ve almost certainly seen the Andromeda galaxy. It is the closest large galaxy to the Milky Way. And for a long time, astronomers thought of the Andromeda galaxy to be a part of the Milky Way as a nebula. In the 1920s, the astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble determined successfully that Andromeda was indeed a large galaxy with a diameter of about 200,000 light years. This galaxy finds its mention in texts as early as 965 CE from Islamic astronomer Al-Sufi. When you go for a camping trip or sit down on your countryside terrace on a clear night, you can easily star hop from Cassiopeia constellation to find the Andromeda galaxy.
Similar ways have been used by a lot of photographers to capture the Andromeda galaxy through their lenses. Recently, a photographer broke Reddit by claiming to have captured the largest picture ever of the Andromeda galaxy. He claims that it is significant to the level of what telescopes like the Hubble space telescope, James Webb space telescope and many more have captured. Let’s talk about this single click and understand how it has become so important over the internet.
The Artist’s Perspective
As a photographer, what’s better than capturing something that is still beyond human comprehension? The photographer who has captured the largest ever picture of the Andromeda galaxy shared a similar perspective on Reddit.
The tale of capturing this image started last year when the user had an idea of capturing an image that would be the best of his limits. So he thought of capturing the image of the Andromeda galaxy at an extremely high resolution. Capturing an image that completely covered the length of Andromeda galaxy is a task that requires very long exposures. The first attempt of capturing the image was a waste since the project does require great quality lenses, precision and a high editing knowledge. Over 90 hours of the exposure time went into waste with no proper image captured.
This year, after learning the gradient modeling method and coming back with a lot more experience, the user spent 159 total hours under the night sky with 25 separate panels to capture the images and three filters to get all the colors. The result of such hard work is the largest ever image captured, which is about 1.03 Gigapixels in size. This image has such high resolutions that you can even focus on the tiniest of the stars and distinguish them amongst the others.
What Is This Amazing Feat?
The world is stunned by this capture not because it has the highest resolutions ever for an image of Andromeda galaxy. That title is still with the telescopes like Hubble and James Webb. But the reason why this one capture has gotten such attention is that it is the largest and most clear picture of the complete length of Andromeda galaxy. The Hubble space telescope and the others have only captured high resolution images of sections of the Andromeda galaxy.
While the image captured by this user is twice the size of the last world record attempt by Robert Gendler in 2008. The image contains 1,033,218,000 total pixels in the edited version while the raw file had over a billion pixels with the file size of over 6 gigabytes. The image is truly a wonder for every person who looks at it since every little detail of the galaxy visible from the Earth is clear in this image. It was captured from SRO and is by far marvelous for human comprehension.
For those interested in space and with a fetish to learn more about the galaxies and the whole universe, images like this one are always going to blow your mind. The effort put into capturing the largest ever image of the Andromeda galaxy is truly tremendous.