Beyond the Milky Way: The sublime beauty of our galactic neighbors
With the upcoming 2020 launch of the James Webb Space Telescope promising to capture pictures of universe with a degree of detail never before seen, we take a look back at some of the most breathtaking intergalactic images humanity has snapped, from early 18th century mysteries to more recent mind-blowing shots from the revolutionary Hubble Space Telescope.
In 1888 an amateur astronomer in England named Isaac Roberts captured a groundbreaking image. This long-exposure photograph taken at Roberts' home observatory was one of the first images even taken of the galaxy Andromeda. At the time Roberts identified it as the Andromeda Nebula, as it wasn't until the next century that we truly understood we were seeing a completely different galaxy, outside of our own Milky Way.
Over the 20th century our knowledge of the universe expanded, as did our technological ability to capture images its outer reaches. The Hubble Space Telescope allowed us to pull back the curtains on the deep limits of the universe and the new millennium promises an even higher definition imaging with the James Webb Space Telescope.
Despite ongoing delays, the JWT promises to take us even closer to the edge of time and space, delivering a new perspective on some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, potentially just a few hundred million years after the big bang.
Take a trip through some of humanity's most spectacular galactic glimpses in our special gallery featuring the best deep space images ever captured.