Sunday, October 17, 2010

Innumerable Galaxies

From September 2003 to January 2004, the NASA Hubble Space Telescope was pointed at a region of space with a low brightness and only a few stars in the near field. The region was about the size of a grain of sand at a distance of one meter away from the human eye. With all of the data accumulated during that time, the telescope captured an image that exemplifies just how immense the universe really is.

"Humankind's deepest portrait of the visible universe ever" as referred to by NASA (Image: NASA).

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field image is considered to be one of the most humbling and profound images of all time. The countless number of individual galaxies revealed is not only surprising but also very informative. An image like this makes the universe look like it is truly abundant with other galaxies and stars. It is also interesting to note that the light from the farthest galaxies in this picture has been traveling towards us since early after the Big Bang and represents what those galaxies looked like about 13 billion years ago. This information has enabled a base measurement of early galaxies' distribution and their evolution.

Hubble's successor, the James Webb Space Telescope, is scheduled to be up and running in 2018.

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