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Hubble photo reveals 13 billion year old galaxies

Posted on Tuesday, January 05 2010 @ 21:53:14 CET by

NASA released a new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope that shows more than 12 billion years of cosmic history, you can check out large versions over here. Some of the fainter galaxies in this picture are 12 to 13 billion years old.
The image shows a rich tapestry of 7,500 galaxies stretching back through most of the universe's history. The closest galaxies seen in the foreground emitted their observed light about a billion years ago. The farthest galaxies, a few of the very faint red specks, are seen as they appeared more than 13 billion years ago, or roughly 650 million years after the Big Bang. This mosaic spans a slice of space that is equal to about a third of the diameter of the full Moon (10 arcminutes).

The new Hubble view highlights a wide variety of stages in the galaxy assembly process. Ultraviolet light taken by WFC3 shows the blue glow of hot, young stars in galaxies teeming with star birth. The orange light reveals the final buildup of massive galaxies about 8 billion to 10 billion years ago. The near-infrared light displays the red glow of very distant galaxies — in a few cases as far as 12 billion to 13 billion light-years away — whose light has been stretched, like a toy Slinky, from ultraviolet light to longer-wavelength infrared light due to the expansion of the universe.



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