Science

Yale astronomer helps create 'history book' image of the universe

Yale astronomer helps create 'history book' image of the universe”

Since 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been providing astronomers and non-astronomers alike a glimpse - and think about that for just a second, because it is just a glimpse - of those vast, perhaps unknowable, mysteries, triggering the imaginations of anyone who has ever looked on the star-painted skies with awe.

This crop of the new Hubble Legacy Field contains around 200,000 galaxies, stretching back through 13.3 billion years of time, to just 500 million years after the universe's birth in the big bang.

The HLF image contains 100 times as many galaxies as the previous deep field surveys partly because it covers a wider view from Earth that is nearly the width of the Earth's Moon. With that in mind, astronomers have produced that they're calling the Hubble Legacy Field, which is a combination of images that does an outstanding job of showing us just how much detail the cherished telescope is capable of detecting.

The Hubble Wide View photograph yields a huge catalogue of distant galaxies.

NASA and the ESA released their latest Hubble Image, called the Hubble Legacy View, that shows the universe as it was 13.3 billion years ago, a mere 500 million years after the Big Bang yet still full of ancient primordial galaxies.

Dr Garth Illingworth of the University of California-Santa Cruz, leader of the NASA research team, said: "This one image contains the full history of the growth of galaxies in the universe, from their times as "infants" to when they grew into fully-fledged 'adults".

The Hubble Telescope remains one of mankind's most powerful tools for exploring the universe, even 29 years into its mission.

Astronomers have put together the largest and most comprehensive "history book" of galaxies into one single image, using 16 years' worth of observations from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers were stunned to see more than 3,000 galaxies.

In 2012, a decade of observations were combined to produce the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field image. Hubble pointed to a small patch of sky over 10 days in December of that year, producing 100 hours of total exposure time (like leaving the shutter open on your camera). Galaxies allow astronomers to trace the expansion of the universe, offer clues to the underlying physics of the cosmos, show when the chemical elements originated, and enable the conditions that eventually led to the appearance of our solar system and life. "Such exquisite high-resolution measurements of the numerous galaxies in thie catalog enable a wide swath of extragalactic study", said catalog lead researcher Katherine Whitaker of the University of CT. The team is now working on a second set of images that total more than 5,200 additional Hubble exposures. Image credit: NASA / ESA / G. Illingworth & D. Magee, University of California, Santa Cruz / K. Whitaker, University of CT / R. Bouwens, Leiden University / P. Oesch, University of Geneva / Hubble Legacy Field Team.

A stunning mosaic image combining almost 7,500 photos taken by NASA's Hubble Telescope over 16 years has been released by NASA.

It can pick up on light via its "eyes", which are five times more focused than ground-based telescopes. In 1995, the Hubble Deep Field captured several thousand previously unseen galaxies. This way, it is able to capture more light, revealing what was once hidden. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations.



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