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Half a million galaxies for CFHT's 30th anniversary
Posted: December 10, 2009

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To mark the occasion of 30 years since the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope saw 'first light', a 370-megapixel deep sky image containing half a million galaxies has been released.

The image containing some half a million galaxies (left) and zooming in on just a small portion (right, and below).

The image – CFHT Legacy Survey Deep Field #1 – was made by accumulating hundreds of hours worth of light integration over five years using the 340-megapixel camera MegaCam. Stacking the images together reveals an ultra-deep view of some half a million distant galaxies, along with a few foreground stars from our own Galaxy. Ultra-deep views like this can be used to probe the most distant galaxies, quasars and gravitational lensing effects.

Close-up view of just 0.07 percent of the deep field.

The new image is far too large to display on a computer screen, so CFHT has created a zoomable image. The image published here shows the whole view which is nearly 20,000 square pixels. Zooming in reveals the glorious detail captured in the survey; the inset is an image 500x500 pixels and makes up 0.07 percent of the whole image. You can navigate the whole region here.

The CFHT is a 3.6 metre optical/infrared telescope and is located at the summit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii. It has been operational since 1979.