What to do with faint galaxies
We’ve received a number of questions on Talk about what to do with faint galaxies, like this one:
Galaxies like this one are not stars or artifacts, they are just veeeery faint, so faint that even a telescope as powerful as Hubble is stretched to its capabilities to image them. When you do see such a faint galaxy, please just answer the questions as best you can. In this case, I’d call this one “smooth”.
Don’t worry about the pixellation. The Wide Field Camera 3 infrared pixels are larger than those of Hubble’s optical camera, but the resolution is still very high. So, even though you see pixels in the image of the galaxy above, it’s actually well resolved. It just happens to be smooth and featureless…
So, what about this one?
Can you see features despite the noise, or is it smooth? It’s your call. Remember, most of these galaxies haven’t been seen before by humans, so there’s no right or wrong answer. Just do your best!
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