What you’re looking at is the most zoomed-in photo ever shot by mankind. Titled the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF), it’s a followup to the famous Hubble Ultra-Deep Field photo created in the mid-2000s. Scientists combined 10-years-worth of Hubble Space Telescope photos to create this resulting image that shows 5,500 individual galaxies, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness of what our human eyes can see.
The amount of photography and imagery that went into this image is staggering. The Hubble “space camera” was pointed at this tiny patch of sky for a total of 50 days, with a total cumulative exposure time of over 23 days (uber-long-exposure photography, anyone?). This resulted in 2,000 individual photos showing the same little section of the sky, all of which went into creating this photograph. It’s the “deepest image of the sky ever obtained” that reveals “the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen.”
Click here for a high-res 2382×2078 version of the same photograph. Here’s a 100% crop from that image:
Here’s an image showing the field of view of the XDF photo in the night sky:
Want to know something else that’s mind-blowing? there might not be much else that’s deeper than what’s seen in this photo. Scientists say that the universe is 13.7 billion years old. The photo shows galaxies as old as 13.2 billion years — galaxies that were created shortly after the universe came into existence.
This is a story that certainly puts your terrestrial telephoto lenses to shame, eh?