Astounding view into the starry depths of the Andromeda Galaxy

I made the animated GIF below in a hopeless attempt to give a quick sense of daveachuk’s video, Gigapixels of Andromeda.  It’s an exploration of the largest photo ever made — NASA’s 1.5 billion-pixel image of our neighboring galaxy and its hundred million stars:

Andomeda galaxy lo

Zooming in on Hubble’s photograph of the Andromeda galaxy

Here’s a detail from the image:

Detail of Hubble’s Andromeda galaxy photograph, revealing a mind-boggling density of stars

My poor brain… does not compute… does not compute…

The inexpressible awe and and majesty are overwhelming.

And it so begs the Fermi paradox.  Where the hell is everyone?!  Where are all the aliens that seem almost surely out there?!  Is space travel really so hard?  Or is the Prime Directive that universal?

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