That beautiful image you see up there is our twin galaxy Andromeda. A neighbour that's right next door, a mere 2.5 million light-years-away. And this new portrait was taken by an all-new telescope camera that's got a whole life of stellar shots ahead of it.
This shot is the first taken with an instrument called the Hyper-Suprime Cam, which sits on the Japan's Subaru telescope and offers particularly hi-resolution, wide-angle shots of the cosmos. Maybe even cooler is that its pictures look super awesome from the get-go; no need for any retouching or colorization at all! This is pure space, baby.
The inaugural shot of Andromeda is only the beginning for the Hyper-Suprime Cam. The plan is to have the HSC take shots of every galaxy we can find, and then use all that data to learn more about how these giant masses of matter bend light around them in a phenomenon called "gravitational lensing". You know, awesome space stuff.
Chair of the HSC science working group, Masahiro Takada, described plans this way in a statement:
Such data will allow scientists to map the distribution of dark matter, constrain the nature of dark energy, and search for baby galaxies that were just born in the early universe.
Sounds great. And in the meantime, sit back and enjoy the view. [Space]