On Saturday the 12th of March our Lent discussion group paid an exciting visit to the Space Expo in Noordwijk, on the premises of the European Space Agency (ESA). Our theme for Lent, “The mystery of everything”, was tremendously enlivened and visualized.
The picture on top shows thousands of galaxies which were found by the Hubble telescope in what was formerly thought to be a nearly empty patch of sky. No telescope before Hubble had the resolution to see these distant galaxies. Astronomers turned Hubble in this direction and let it soak up all the light it could for 10 days. They were taking a risk – most Hubble observations take just hours, and the time being eaten up could have been used for more concrete needs. It was possible the objects the astronomers were looking for would be too faint or small for even Hubble to see.
But the results turned up a treasure trove: 3,000 galaxies, large and small, shapely and amorphous, burning in the depths of space. The stunning image was called the Hubble Deep Field.