Image Tour: The Hubble Ultra Deep Field

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Take a trip far back through time to see some of the youngest and oldest galaxies in the universe.

Produced by the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Office of Public Outreach in collaboration with NASA’s Universe of Learning partners: Caltech/IPAC, Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Sonoma State University

  • Images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field: STScI

Text, Image Tour, The Hubble Ultra Deep Field.
Fast Facts. Location, Constellation Fornax. Distance From Earth, Up to 13 billion light-years away. Size, This patch of sky is about one-tenth the diameter of the full Moon. Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope.
The Hubble Space Telescope stared deep into a seemingly dark, empty area of space for days to obtain this image of nearly 10,000 galaxies.
This cosmic cross-section contains galaxies that range in age from a few hundred million years old to over 10 billion years old.
A bar appears at the bottom. Text, Tour Stops. Assorted Galaxies, Foreground Stars, Deep-Field Timeline, Mature Galaxies, Developing Galaxies. A box highlights the first stop, Assorted Galaxies.
Text, Each tiny dot is a galaxy, a collection of millions to hundreds of billions of stars. Some are large, well-developed, and nearby, while others are small, shapeless, and distant.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Foreground Stars.
Only a few of the Milky Way's stars can be seen in this image.
They have a distinctive cross-like appearance, caused by light reflecting off struts inside the Hubble telescope.
Two large stars in the photo are circled in white.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Deep-Field Timeline.
Text, Light from distant galaxies must travel through space over time to reach us.
The light that has the farthest to travel takes the longest to arrive. Thus we see distant galaxies as they were in their youth, and galaxies from the nearby universe as they are today. A box appears. It shows the universe divided into sections. Text, A Backwards In Time look at the universe, young galaxies, developing galaxies, mature galaxies.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Mature Galaxies.
Text, These are modern galaxies, similar to the ones we see in our own region of space. They are large and have distinct shapes. A photo of galaxies. Caption, Galaxies less than 5 billion light-years away.
Spiral and elliptical galaxies like these are relatively old. Both require several billion years to achieve their characteristic shapes. White circles appear around two of the galaxies, and they are labeled Spiral Galaxy and Elliptical Galaxy, respectively.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Developing Galaxies.
Text, These are teenage galaxies. Full of gas and dust, they have the basic structure of modern galaxies but are still refining their shapes. A photo of the galaxies. Caption, Galaxies 5 to 10 billion light-years away.
Text, Gravity is causing some of these galaxies to pull at and distort each other. Galaxies evolve by interacting and merging.
The box on the tour bar highlights the next stop, Young Galaxies.
Text, These are infant galaxies. They're just dense groups of stars, only a few thousand light-years across, which will one day become the central regions of true galaxies. A photo of galaxies. Caption, Galaxies more than 10 billion light-years away.
Text, These small reddish galaxies are among the first to form in the universe. Which circles appear around 5 of the galaxies.
The circles, and text fade, then the 6 tour stops reappear in a bar across the bottom.