Hubble Space Telescope reveals extreme view (+video)
The penetrating gaze of the Hubble Space Telescope grants viewers the deepest glimpse ever into the universe's past.
Cape Canaveral, Fla.
Piecing together 10 years of¬†Hubble Space Telescope images, astronomers on Tuesday unveiled the deepest view yet of a small sliver of the night sky, revealing a kaleidoscope of galaxies and other celestial objects.
The¬†Hubble eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, adds another 5,500 galaxies to¬†Hubble's 2003 and 2004 view into a tiny patch of the farthest universe.
Hubble returned to the same target more than 50 times over the past decade, racking up an additional 2 million seconds of exposure time. The most distant objects found date back to about 500 million years after the universe's formation some 13.7 billion years ago.
The early universe was a violent place, filled with colliding and merging galaxies that radiate in bright blue light, a telltale sign of new star formation.
The¬†Hubble portrait also shows brilliantly shining spiral galaxies and older red fuzzy galaxies whose star-formation days are over.
More than 2,000 images of the same field, taken by¬†Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and its near-infrared Wide Field Camera 3, were combined to form the XDF.
"XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained," astronomer¬†Garth Illingworth, with the¬†University of California¬†at Santa Cruz, said in a statement. "It allows us to explore further back in time than ever before.
(Editing by David Adams and Claudia Parsons)