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Friday, January 08, 2010


For a larger and much more detailed view, please click on the picture.

More than twelve billion years of cosmic history are shown in this panoramic, full-color view of thousands of galaxies.

This image, taken by National Aeronautic and Space Administration's Hubble Space Telescope, was made from mosaics taken in September and October of 2009 with the newly installed Wide Field Camera Three, and in 2004 with the Advanced Camera for Surveys.

It covers a portion of the southern field of a large galaxy census called the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey, a deep-sky study by several observatories to trace the evolution of galaxies.

The image reveals galaxy shapes that appear increasingly chaotic at each earlier epoch, as galaxies grew through accretion, collisions and mergers, which range from the mature spirals and ellipticals in the foreground, to smaller, fainter, irregularly shaped galaxies, most of which are farther away, and therefore existed farther back in time.

These smaller galaxies are considered the building blocks of the larger galaxies we see today.

The image shows a rich tapestry of seven thousand five hundred 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 thirteen billion years ago, or roughly six hundred and fify 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 (ten arc minutes).

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