When it comes to astronomy, there are a lot of records associated with the tools used to analyze outer space, including telescopes. There are also structures that have been deemed the largest and most massive. In this article, you will not only learn about the largest space telescope, but also encounter the largest galaxy.
Largest Space Telescope
The Hubble Space Telescope has captured many stunning images of outer space and also holds the record for being the largest of the bunch. NASA named the telescope after American astronomer Edwin P Hubble. The telescope weight nearly 25,000 pounds and measures 43 feet in its overall length. The telescope made history when it was launched into space on April 24, 1990 , thanks to the space shuttle Discovery. During its time in space, it has been serviced five times and is currently slated to remain in use until at least 2014. Some of the deep space objects that the telescope has taken photographs of includes R136 , a young stellar grouping in the 30 Doradus Nebula. In April 2011, the Hubble Telescope celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Largest Structure in the Universe
If you thought the planets were the largest structures in the universe, think again. The record is not held by a planet or star, but is a huge wall of galaxies discovered by a team of astronomers led by Rochard Gott II and Mario Juric from Princeton University. The galaxies are estimated to measure 1.37 billion light-years long. This sum was calculated by using data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, which maps the locations of one million galaxies found in the universe. This discovery was initially announced in October 2003.
Largest Spiral Galaxy
In 1986, the largest spiral galaxy was discovered when it was revealed in photographs taken by an Anglo-Australian astronomer named David Malin. The galaxy was later named after Malin (Malin 1). The galaxy is estimated 1.1 billion spiral light years away. Its diameter is considered the largest known in the universe with a measurement of about 650,000 light years across, which is several times the size of our Milky Way (which has a diameter of about 100,000 light years. Characteristics of Malin 1 include that it contains around 50 billion suns that possess a great deal of free-floating hydrogen.
Located 1,070 million light years away from the Earth, the central galaxy of the Abell 2029 galaxy is calculated as having a major diameter of 5,600,000 light years. This assessment is 80 times the diameter of the Milky Way galaxy. Scientists believe the Abell 2029 galaxy reached its massive size by pulling in galaxies that were located close by.
Note: A light year is a unit of measurement used in regards to astronomy that describes the distance light travels in a year, which is equivalent to 5.8 trillion miles.
Source: Guinness World Records 2010