Galaxies, Desktops, and a Nerd.

So, I saw this post on the Bad Astronomy blog, which you definitely should be reading. It’s damn good.

The post starts off with:

What happens when you take a monster 4.1 meter telescope in the southern hemisphere and point it at the same patch of sky for 55 hours?


This is a 17,000 by 11,000 pixel, 250 Mb image of deep space that shows thousands of galaxies. Yes, galaxies. Over 200,000 of them. The brightest objects are stars but:

With the exception of a handful of blue-looking stars, everything in this zoom is a galaxy, probably billions of light years away. Those tiny red dots are galaxies so far away they crush our minds to dust: we’re seeing them with light that left them shortly after the Universe itself formed.

There’s a link there in the post to download the image. And it is enormous. I’ve got pretty fast cable internet and it took a very long time to download it (no doubt the servers didn’t expect such a rush…).

Yeah, I downloaded it. Because I could.

But I actually had a reason. An incredibly nerdy reason, but a reason nonetheless. I took that huge file, loaded it into Lightroom, did some slight adjustments (mainly changing to monochrome) and exported a 1920 X 1080 version that’s just perfect as a desktop. Here you go:

Now I’ve got an awesome ultradeep space image, bursting with galaxies on my desktop. I think it looks pretty damn cool.

I think I might make iPhone and iPad versions as well, but that’s enough nerdiness for one evening. In the meantime, if you would like your own copy without the hassle of downloading and editing the ginormous original file, here is a direct link to the desktop I made, hosted on Amazon S3.

And do read the original Bad Astronomy post, An ultradeep image that’s *full* of galaxies!, because it goes into a lot more detail about how they got the image and what it shows.