Credit: NASA, ESA, G. Illingworth (UCO/Lick Observatory and the
University of California, Santa Cruz), R. Bouwens (UCO/Lick
Observatory and Leiden University), and the HUDF09 Team.
Hubble's Deepest View of Universe Unveils Never-Before-Seen Galaxies
› Larger image
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has made the deepest image of the
universe ever taken in near-infrared light. The faintest and reddest
objects in the image are galaxies that formed 600 million years after
the Big Bang. No galaxies have been seen before at such early times.
The new deep view also provides insights into how galaxies grew in
their formative years early in the universe's history.
The image was taken in the same region as the Hubble Ultra Deep Field
(HUDF), which was taken in 2004 and is the deepest visible-light image
of the universe. Hubble's newly installed Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3)
collects light from near-infrared wavelengths and therefore looks even
deeper into the universe, because the light from very distant galaxies is
stretched out of the ultraviolet and visible regions of the spectrum into
near-infrared wavelengths by the expansion of the universe.
This image was taken by the HUDF09 team, that was awarded the time
for the observation and made it available for research by astronomers
worldwide. In just three months, 12 scientific papers have already been
submitted on these new data.
The photo was taken with the new WFC3/IR camera on Hubble in late
August 2009 during a total of four days of pointing for 173,000
seconds of total exposure time. Infrared light is invisible and therefore
does not have colors that can be perceived by the human eye. The
colors in the image are assigned comparatively short, medium, and
long, near-IR wavelengths (blue, 1.05 microns; green, 1.25 microns;
red, 1.6 microns). The representation is "natural" in that blue objects
look blue and red objects look red. The faintest objects are about one
billionth as bright as can be seen with the naked eye.
These Hubble observations are trailblazing a path for Hubble's
successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), which will look
even farther into the universe than Hubble, at infrared wavelengths.
The JWST is planned to be launched in 2014.
The HUDF09 team members are Garth Illingworth (University of
California Observatories/Lick Observatory and the University of
California, Santa Cruz), Rychard Bouwens (University of California
Observatories/Lick Observatory and Leiden University), Pascal Oesch
and Marcella Carollo (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich
(ETH)), Marijn Franx (Leiden University), Ivo Labbe (Carnegie Institute of
Washington), Daniel Magee (University of California, Santa Cruz),
Massimo Stiavelli (Space Telescope Science Institute), Michele Trenti
(University of Colorado, Boulder), and Pieter van Dokkum (Yale
The Hubble Space Telescope is a project of international cooperation between NASA and the European Space Agency. NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute conducts Hubble science operations. The institute is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington, and is an International Year of Astronomy 2009 program partner.
Images and more information are available at:
› Space Telescope Science Institute
› NASA Hubble page
› Series of STSI images
Space Telescope Science Institute