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Hubble Just Released the Best Image of Our Universe Yet

Turn a telescope towards a seemingly empty section of sky and leave the shutter open. As light millions or even billions of years old pours in, the dark sky gets brighter. Leave the shutter open long enough and you’ll get a picture of thousands upon thousands of galaxies. From 2003 to 2009, this is exactly what the Hubble Telescope did, producing one of astronomy’s most famous images, the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field.”

Today, the Hubble Telescope has done it again, only now with an accumulated exposure time of nine whole years and a new wavelength of light.

The first Hubble Ultra-Deep Field study looked at visible and near-infrared light coming from a small section of space in the southern-hemisphere constellation Fornax. The new study — the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field — compiles images from 841 Hubble orbits looking at the same section (90 minutes each), using the entire spectrum of light available to the telescope, specifically ultraviolet. With the new image, we can see 10,000 individual galaxies over a time that goes all the way back to just after the Big Bang.

Take a long look for yourself:

The New Hubble UDFClick to enlarge

Looking at ultraviolet light is so important because of how young stars burn. Ultraviolet light often signifies hot young stars being born, and so by looking for them, astronomers can find the galaxies where stars form. This information in turn tells us how galaxies formed, looking at the young stars they acquired.

Hubble’s new image is of nothing less than the evolution of our universe.

Science communicator and outreach consultant for the Hubble team, Scott Lewis created the lovely video below to explain the new image and its significance:

When Hubble’s successor — the James Webb Space Telescope — finally comes online, the new ultraviolet data from the Ultra-Deep Field study will be invaluable in directing and adding to its mission. But for now, Hubble will keep expanding our view of the universe, literally.

IMAGES: NASA/ESA

HT: NASA

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9 comments

    • ancient books? read all of them? 6000 years ago? that is like a beliefe held by a small minority of a small sect of christianity, for your kind information :) people who claim to believe in science should not make such generalizing stupid statements..

      • couldn’t have said it better myself. I read an article written about creations’ 6 days and applied the theory of the diminishing 4th dimension due to collapsing gravitational field of an expanding universe and 6 days became 14.5 billion years of earth time. when that’s done, you can look at the order and timeframe the ‘ancient texts’ speak of and it correlates more or less with the order current theory says the universe developed. Of course this is useless for someone of pure science or pure faith viewpoint, but to someone who sees no need to see faith in black and white, it allows one to fully accept a guiding hand to the universe and explore scientific method unabated. Then again, if you read this insanely long reply, you cared enough about this already and probably have made up your own mind…and that’s totally ok too because the world is big and full of people who see things differently.

        • I’ve actually wondered myself if the diminishing 4th dimension theory was a thing. I thought of it one night randomly and just never bothered to look it up.

          Funnily enough, I also completely agree with your viewpoint on faith. I see no harm in it for the most part, and if they choose to fill in the gaps with God then who am I to stop them?