back to article Ancient galaxies pose for the camera

The European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (aka ESO, or European Southern Observatory) has released a rather fetching snap of distant galaxies posing in the U-band - the boundary between visible light and ultraviolet - which shows some clusters of stars so old that they're seen "as they were …


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  1. glennog

    Dr Boffin

    A perfect example of Nominative Determinism if ever I heard one

  2. Tim Spence


    I find these types of images the most interesting and yet equally the most boring images ever. It's truly amazing that what we are seeing is light which has travelled so far, and is so old it pre-dates so much time which the human brain can't even comprehend.

    And yet, what can we *really* see? A few white pixels on a black background.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge


    Anyone care to explain why an instrument "designed for UV observations" is called the "Visible *Infra-red* Multi-Object Spectrograph"?

    Scope change without a project rename? Acronym sounded better with an "I" in it? What?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    I like a deep space first thing in the morning.

  5. Joe K


    I found that article more entertaining by reading it as "U-bend".

    And more, much much more, from Mr Henri Boffin please.

  6. Gav

    Mars rising on the cusp of something new

    Oh oh. You know what this means?

    That there billion times fainter, ba-jillion year old galaxy is bound to be messing with the events of my day. All our horoscopes are screwed up! Again!

    I can't tell you how much this explains everything. We can only hope that Russell Grant is keeping careful notes on all this.

  7. Anthony Chambers

    A long time ago.... a galaxy, far, far away

  8. breakfast Silver badge
    Paris Hilton


    For some reason "Visible Ultra-Violet Large Array" didn't appeal to them.

  9. Anonymous Coward


    but I wonder if Visible Ultra Large Violet Array would have gotten their attention?

  10. Anonymous Coward


    To our u-band star overlords. I like the picture and don't find it boring at all. Thanks

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ESA comes up with the GOODS

    A juicy pun like that left hanging in the air? What gives? Standards are slipping at El Reg's Headline Department, I swear

  12. Jon Tocker

    They could have at least...

    circled a few or put little pointy arrows to highlight them!

    Perhaps it's just my 45-year-old eyesight, but they don't look a lot different from the merely-a-few-millions-of-years-"old" stars I see most nights.

    I presume the picture contains both the ancient and distant ones and a few of the closer, less ancient ones.

  13. Joe Cooper

    @Jon Tocker

    The stars in the photo have four spokes. You'll notice these are the largest, brights objects. That is because they are in the foreground.

  14. Mark

    re: They could have at least...

    Problem is they are ancient NOW but the light too is ancient. So left when the stars weren't ancient, the universe was just young.

    Anyway, what did you expect? Some sort of kids-drawing style star? Stars made of wood (as per the three little pigs)?

  15. Turgut Kalfaoglu
    Thumb Up

    Impressive show

    I love those tiny galaxies in the picture - and to think that they travelled so much to reach us, it's mind boggling. And the resolution of this image is "slightly" better than my 10" meade lx200gps :)


  16. jon


    open the link, and download the [Full Res - TIFF: 6480 x 4239 ] pic! should be enough detail there.... :)

    - and just think, EVERY dot is a galaxy, with thousands of stars, and planets round them....

  17. Michael Dunn

    Joe Cooper

    "The stars in the photo have four spokes"

    Yes, Joe, this is an artefact introduced by the fact that the secondary mirror of the telescope is suspended in the telescope tube by a "spider" of four struts.

    There's a copy of "Amateur Telescope Making" in the pocket - but you really need a warm coat when observing, so mine is adapted from one of the space-suit modules used in the moon missions.

  18. Mark

    Michael Dunn

    And the reason why that happens is because the diffraction pattern is strong enough to appear.

    so the brighter the star, the more visible the spokes.

    And the galaxies aren't bright enough (contrasty enough, really, since the spokes appear for each dot and so merge each other out and share the overall brightness) to show spikes.

    So the ones with spokes aren't distant galaxies.

    Which is why Joe mentioned them.

    I suspect he knows as much as you do about telescopes. Maybe more. He does at least know what it MEANS better than you.


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