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Hubble Ultra Deepfield explores the universe.


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The Hubble Ultra Deepfield, is an image of a small region of space in the constellation Fornax, composited from Hubble Space Telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope data was accumulated over a period from September 3, 2003 through January 16, 2004. Hubble Ultra Deepfield is the deepest image of the universe ever taken in visible light. Hubble Ultra Deepfield is looking back in time more than 13 billion years. The Hubble Ultra Deepfield contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies. The patch of sky in which the galaxies reside (just one-tenth the diameter of the full moon as viewed from Earth) was chosen because it had a low density of bright stars in the near-field.

Hubble Ultra Deepfield.
This high-resolution image of the Hubble Ultra Deepfield includes galaxies of various ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. The smallest, reddest galaxies, about 100, are some of the most distant galaxies to have been imaged by an optical telescope, existing when the universe was just 800 million years old.
Hubble Ultra Deepfield on the sky.
Location of the Hubble Ultra Deepfield on the sky.

Although most of the targets visible in the Hubble image can also be seen at Infrared wavelengths by ground-based telescopes, Hubble is the only instrument which can make observations of these distant targets at visible wavelengths. Located southwest of Orion in the Southern-Hemisphere constellation Fornax at Right ascension 3h 32m 40.0s, Declination -27º 47' 29" (J2000), the image covers 11.5 square arcminutes, which is smaller than a grain of sand held at arm's length, and is oriented such that the upper left corner points toward north (-46.4º) on the celestial sphere. The star near the center of the field is USNO-A2.0 0600-01400432 with apparent magnitude of 18.95.

In total, the image required 800 exposures taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits around Earth. The total amount of exposure time was 11.3 days for the ACS and 4.5 days for the NICMOS.

According to the Big Bang theory, the universe has a finite age, so we might expect very distant (and hence very young) galaxies to look different from the typical older galaxies we see today. This is indeed seen in the HUDF, although some argue that the difference is partly a result of the unusual wavelength used for the HUDF (corresponding to ultraviolet light from the rest-frame of the most distant galaxies). The Hubble Ultra Deepfield also shows more evidence for galaxy formation and merging than in local studies, as expected for the early universe.

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