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1.5 Billion Breathtaking Pixels

January 20, 2015 |

As web designers we have to pay a lot of attention to pixel measurements in order to give elements their proper size and position on a webpage. But we usually only deal in hundreds of pixels, enough to fill the space of a browser window. Not so with designs of galactic proportions.

On January 5, 2015 the Hubble Space Telescope released the sharpest, most detailed image of the Andromeda Galaxy ever taken. At 2.5 million light-years away, the Andromeda Galaxy (aka M31) is the closest spiral galaxy to the Milky Way.

The image, which is a composite of 7,398 exposures taken over 411 individual locations, features 100 million of Andromeda’s approximately 1 trillion stars, spanning 61,000 light-years of space. Think about that for a moment. 100 million stars. 

The image file requires 4.3GB of disk space and takes up 69,536 x 22,230 pixels. You’d need 600 HD television screens to display the entire image!

You can explore this sector of the Andromeda Galaxy using a special zoom tool provided by NASA. A box in the top-left corner reminds you what a tiny area you’re looking at. Even at maximum zoom, you still can’t count all the stars! (That big star is a sun, by the way. One of many.)


And if you’re so inclined, YouTube user daveachuk will take you on a journey through the stars in the following video:

Feature image © Getty Images / J. Dalcanton, University of Washington

James Fulton

A multimedia and design professional with a healthy obsession for all things web. James’ passion for web design sees him stretching his creative imagination to eternal limits and forever sees him thinking outside the box, even if it is not work related. James’ ideas are original and innovative, and implementing them into the world of the web to create aesthetically enjoyable websites is what he does best.

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