Hubble Deep Field from Raheny

One of the most iconic images of our generation is undoubtedly the hubble deep field. Over 10 consecutive days HST stared at a small patch of space located in the “Big Dipper” (Ursa Major).  This really is a tiny area about the same angular size as a tennis ball held at a distance of 100metres. One of the key aims of this project was to hest hubble’s ability to resolve distant galaxies and to answer the question, “Just how far can HST see?”  The reult astounded astronomers.  Some of the objects recorded had a red shift indicating that they were 12 billion light years away.  The reality is that some of these galaxies date back to a very early age of our universe. Subsequent “deep field” observations have seen even farther back in time. 13.2 billion light years.  Despite the extraordinary achievements of later observations a first is still a first.


The original Hubble Deep Field (Credit: NASA/ESA/STSCI) (Click For a larger Image)

In tribute to this wonderful achievement, I was challenged to see just how much of this image could be recreated from Raheny.  To be honest I hardly considered that any of the image could be captured with a relatively small ground based telescope.  I was pleasantly surprised to capture a number of the galaxies visible in the original HST masterpiece. Here’s my result;

The Raheny Deep Field (D. Grennan) (Click for a larger Image)

It’s interesting to see some of the brighter galaxies on the HDF image captured on my image.  In fact this exercise served a double purpose which set a new record for the magnitude limit for an object detected at Raheny of magnitude 23.2(B).  I took almost 4 hours of exposure to record objects this faint however it was well worth the effort just to see even part of this wonderful HST recreated from my own observatory.

I was delighted that my image was featured by the BBC Sky at Night programme.