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There’s so much going on in this breathtaking new Hubble photo you could stare at it for years

Published Nov 3rd, 2017 8:03PM EDT
hubble photo
Image: NASA, ESA, and B. Sunnquist and J. Mack (STScI)

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NASA has lots and lots of hardware floating around in space, orbiting planets, and cruising around Mars, and when it wants to show off its photography chops it usually focuses on something specific. Those photos are almost always great, but a new snapshot from the Hubble Space Telescope is great because it does the exact opposite. In fact, there’s so many different things to feast your eyes on that you might want to just save the image and look at it whenever you’re bored.

The photo, which NASA says is of “a random patch of sky” is absolutely stunning, and it’s packed with lots of different objects in all different shapes and sizes. You’ve got bright blue spiral galaxies, bold orange clusters of galaxies, and smudges of deep red which indicate galaxies that are so far away the expansion of the universe itself has warped their color. Oh, and then there’s the bright white “worms,” which have an entirely different explanation.

In the full photo, which you can check out in its original resolution here, you’ll see hundreds of galaxies and clusters that contain an unimaginable number of alien worlds, moons, stars, and other objects, but like a drunk friend at a party, the bright white scribbles obscuring the view are actually nearby asteroids.

“Intruding across the picture are asteroid trails that appear as curved or S-shaped streaks,” NASA explains. “Rather than leaving one long trail, the asteroids appear in multiple Hubble exposures that have been combined into one image. Of the 20 total asteroid sightings for this field, seven are unique objects. Of these seven asteroids, only two were earlier identified. The others were too faint to be seen previously.”

Despite that pesky asteroids cruising around like flies, the image is truly magnificent, and it’s hard not to wonder just what might be lurking out there on any one of the countless planets and stars that make up each and every one of the tiny shapes we see. If ET is out there somewhere, we’ve got a lot of searching to do.