Gran Teleascopio Canarias sets a new record

Galaxy UGC0180 and its halo.
Galaxy UGC0180 and its halo.

Gran Telescopio Canarias on La Palma is the biggest telescope in the world * and it’s just photographed the faintest thing even photographed from the earth’s surface.

The photograph above shows a faint halo of stars around Galaxy UGC0180, 500 million light years away. This sort of halo was predicted by theoretical models, but it’s been extremely hard to photograph because the halos are very, very faint. It’s ten times fainter than anything else photographed from the surface of the earth.

*To be picky, it’s the largest single mirror for a telescope that looks are visible light – the light our eyes can see rather than radio waves or gamma rays.

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