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Hubble picture shows deepest-ever view of the Universe depicting thousands of galaxies

One News Page Staff
Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Hubble picture shows deepest-ever view of the Universe depicting thousands of galaxiesby

A team of scientists have compiled an extraordinary view of the Universe from thousands of snaps taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

An extraordinary photo revealing thousands of galaxies located billions of light years away from Earth has been created by scientists working on the "Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009" programme.

Named the "eXtreme Deep Field", or "XDF", the image combines thousands of individual exposures snapped by the Hubble Space Telescope over the past decade.

Hubble XDF - full view
The XDF image contains more than 5,000 galaxies
Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team


In order to capture the faint light of far-away galaxies, Hubble stared at a small patch of space in the Constellation Fornax ("The Furnace") for more than 500 hours in order to produce the deepest image of the cosmos ever taken by mankind.

Size of the XDF image patch on the sky
This illustration shows the size of the XDF image patch as seen from Earth in comparison to the Moon
Credit: NASA; ESA; and Z. Levay, STScI; Moon Image Credit: T. Rector; I. Dell'Antonio/NOAO/AURA/NSF


Some of the distant objects seen in the image are very faint indeed - at only one ten-billionth of the brightness the human eye can see.

The XDF peers back in time as far as 13.2 billion years ago - within the oldest galaxy in the picture estimated to be shown in its existence a mere 450 million years after the Big Bang gave birth to the Universe (now 13.7 billion years old).

"The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen," Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. "XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before."

Hubble XDF image (zoom section)
The Hubble XDF image contains a wide range of galaxies, including some that look similar to our own - the Milky Way. Many of these are billions of light years away.
Credit: NASA; ESA; G. Illingworth, D. Magee, and P. Oesch, University of California, Santa Cruz; R. Bouwens, Leiden University; and the HUDF09 Team


The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency.
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