55-Hour Exposure of a Tiny Patch of Sky Reveals 200,000 Galaxies

This photo is what you get when you point a massive 4.1 meter telescope (VISTA in Chile) at an unremarkable patch of night sky and capture six thousand separate exposures that provide an effective “shutter speed” of 55 hours. It’s an image that contains more than 200,000 individual galaxies, each containing countless stars and planets (to put the image into perspective, the famous Hubble Ultra-Deep Field contains “only” around 10,000 galaxies). And get this: this view only shows a tiny 0.004% of the entire sky!

Let’s zoom in a bit into the image to show how detailed the image actually is:

The original image measures 17,000×11,000px (~187 megapixels) and can be downloaded as a massive 250MB file.

Image credit: Photograph by ESO/UltraVISTA team