Recently, the Hubble team released the absolutely mind-bogglingly-massive Hubble Legacy Field image…
The snapshot, a combination of nearly 7,500 separate Hubble exposures, represents 16 years' worth of observations. The ambitious endeavor is called the Hubble Legacy Field. The new view contains about 30 times as many galaxies as in the HUDF. The wavelength range stretches from ultraviolet to near-infrared light, capturing all the features of galaxy assembly over time.
The image mosaic presents a wide portrait of the distant universe and contains roughly 265,000 galaxies. They stretch back through 13.3 billion years of time to just 500 million years after the universe's birth in the big bang.
Despite those staggering figures, this image still represents only a tiny portion of the sky, covering roughly the area taken up by the Moon in the night sky.
I downloaded the 700MB 25,500x25,500 PNG version of the image, and set to work making some new 5120x2880 desktop images. You can read more about the process in an upcoming post, but for now, here are the resulting images…
Hand-selected images: For these images, I browsed the massive PNG file, found interesting areas, cropped them down to 5120x2880, and exported a JPEG file at 1MB to 2MB in size. There are only seven of them, not because there's not a lot to choose from, but because there's too much: I could spend days finding interesting chunks of the master image to use as desktop images!
Computer-cropped images: These images were automatically cropped from the master image (after I cropped that; more detail on what I did is coming in a follow-up post), via ImageMagick. I just told Image Magick to grab consecutive 5120x2880 chunks of the image, and save each to a file. The end result is an assortment of 27 images, some of which are quite interesting—I particularly like #2, #6, #17, and #26).
For now, I've got both sets of images in one folder that I've set to randomly change every 15 minutes—what can I say…I love spacey desktops.