Hubble Goes to the Limit

By Maia Weinstock|Sunday, June 27, 2004

Courtesy of S. Beckwith/STScI/NASA/HUDF Team

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have found an incredible 10,000 galaxies where ground-based telescopes showed little more than blackness. It took the Hubble 11.3 days to capture this image (above), the deepest-ever panorama of the cosmos. The most distant of these galaxies, 12.9 billion light-years from Earth, appear as they were just 800 million years after the Big Bang. By comparing their shapes and colors with those of other, more mature galaxies, astronomers hope to clarify how order emerged in the young universe. The discovery comes just as a separate team, working with the Very Large Telescope in Chile, reports finding a single even more remote galaxy. That object, 13.23 billion light-years away, seems to lie at the very edge of an early period of impenetrable gloom known as the Dark Ages.

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