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Hubble reveals our colourful universe in amazing new photo

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Wednesday, June 4, 2014, 10:43 AM - The Hubble Space Telescope, now a 24-year veteran space explorer, has provided us with some amazing images of our universe, but this latest one may blow all the others away.

Over 10 years ago, astronomers conducted an experiment, pointing Hubble at a small patch of space seemingly devoid of stars. However, rather than simply getting blank images back as a result, the astronomers discovered something amazing - that small patch of space wasn't empty at all. It held 10,000 galaxies, each containing billions of stars, which were too distant and faint to be seen with any other telescope at the time. This image was dubbed the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF), and astronomers returned to this patch of space from 2003 through 2009, collecting even more light from it, and pushing the field even deeper.

Now, Hubble astronomers have taken their efforts one step further. Up until now, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field has contained data gathered by the telescope's visible light and near-infrared cameras, revealing to us objects that formed all the way back in the Universe's infancy, only 600 million years after the Big Bang. This new image, from a project called Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (UVUDF), adds in data from ultraviolet part of the spectrum, and the results simply explode off the screen.


NASA, ESA, H. Teplitz and M. Rafelski (IPAC/Caltech), A. Koekemoer (STScI), R. Windhorst (Arizona State University), and Z. Levay (STScI)

Although this image is certainly amazing, it wasn't done only for the awe-factor. According to Hubble astronomers, the addition of the ultraviolet data fills a very important role in understanding exactly what they are seeing in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, by allowing them to better see the youngest stars in the galaxies.

"The lack of information from ultraviolet light made studying galaxies in the HUDF like trying to understand the history of families without knowing about the grade-school children," Harry Teplitz of Caltech, who is the principal investigator for the project, said in a NASA statement on Tuesday. "The addition of the ultraviolet fills in this missing range."

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