That means we're seeing them as they were just after the Big Bang, when galaxies were new features of the universe. Not unlike the photos in your family album, this panorama of galactic history contains old galaxies and infants, well-established worlds and - unavoidably - an occasional train wreck.
The Hubble Space Telescope has been taking some of the most breathtaking images of the deep universe since it was put into orbit many years ago.
The image is a mosaic that combines 7500 images from 16 years worth of the Hubble Space Telescope's deep surveys and looks back over 13.3 billion years of our universe's history.
Astronomers have successfully merged 264,000 galaxies into a single mosaic, dating back to the time just 500 million years after the big bang.
By peering back through space and time, astronomers have learned more about how early galaxies formed and evolved, often from violent collisions with one another, which appear clearly in throughout the deep field images. From the darkness, worlds emerged.
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The Hubble Space Telescope is one of the most powerful long-term observatories in the entire world, focusing nearly entirely on areas in deep outer space.
The findings from 31 different Hubble programs came together in order to assemble this image.
The upcoming NASA/ESA James Webb Space Telescope will allow astronomers to push much deeper into the legacy field to reveal how the infant galaxies developed over time.
The imae yields a huge catalog of distant galaxies. The team is now working on a second set of images that total more than 5,200 additional Hubble exposures.
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The Hubble Telescope remains one of mankind's most powerful tools for exploring the universe, even 29 years into its mission. Hubble has spent more time on this tiny area than on any other region of the sky, totaling more than 250 days. By observing galaxies, scientists traced the expansion of the universe revealing clues about the physics and chemistry of the cosmos, and discovering conditions that led to the appearance of the solar system and life on Earth.
A second deep-field image, called the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, was taken in 2003-2004 after a new camera - the Advanced Camera for Surveys - was installed.
This full view of the Hubble Legacy Field shows the uneven edges cropped out of the "cleaner" image, above, showing off all of the roughly 265,000 galaxies contained in the composite.
The vast number of galaxies in the Legacy Field image are also prime targets for future telescopes.
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