New Space Photo Reveals 'Nothing'

New Space Photo Reveals 'Nothing'
Image of the Deep 3 'empty' field observed with the telescope at La Silla. The image is the combination of 714 frames for a total exposure time of 64.5 hours covering a total area larger than one square degree. (Image credit: ESO)

Astronomers snapped a picture of nothing, and lo-and-behold what they got was, well, pretty much nothing.

The European Southern Observatory (ESO) released a 300-million-pixel image that covers an empty region of the sky about five times the size of the full Moon.

No, space art is not going Dada. The study of such empty fields provides a clear view toward distant regions of the universe and opens windows onto the earliest cosmic times.

The new image is a composite of 714 images taken over the course of about 65 hours with an ESO telescope in Chile.

Deep 3, the area that the telescope pointed to, is located in the Crater, also known as the Cup, of a southern constellation where the brightest star is barely visible to the unaided eye except on very dark nights.

The Crater, which lies between the Virgo, Corvus, and Hydra constellations, is not really completely empty. It contains a relatively small number of stars and galaxies-about 50-compared to similar-sized regions elsewhere.

Astronomers hope that with further study of the obtained data, at least more of the empty space in their knowledge of this mysterious place will be filled in.

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Sara Goudarzi
Sara Goudarzi is a Brooklyn writer and poet and covers all that piques her curiosity, from cosmology to climate change to the intersection of art and science. Sara holds an M.A. from New York University, Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute, and an M.S. from Rutgers University. She teaches writing at NYU and is at work on a first novel in which literature is garnished with science.