Astonishing NASA Image Captures Color of 10K Galaxies
Hubble shot spans light spectrum, took 841 orbits to create
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2014 4:08 AM CDT
Updated Jun 4, 2014 7:20 AM CDT
This composite image provided by NASA shows the visible and near infrared light spectrum collected from the Hubble Space Telescope.   (AP Photo/NASA)

(Newser) – Thousands of galaxies of all ages, shapes, and colors can be seen in a stunning new image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. Some of the oldest galaxies visible appear as light from nearly 12 billion years ago, almost as old as the universe, but NASA says the most exciting part of the image is the use of ultraviolet light, which reveals the "missing link" of galaxies 5 billion to 10 billion years old—the chunk of time when most of the universe's stars came to be. A Caltech astronomer likens the previous lack of information from ultraviolet light to studying "families by first studying infants, and then studying grown-ups after they've gone to college, but completely missing everything in between and not knowing about school. ... The addition of the ultraviolet fills in this missing range." The light shows up in the photo as bright blue.

The image, 11 years in the making, was taken over 841 orbits of the telescope. Many of the approximately 10,000 galaxies it shows "are distorted, victims of collisions with other galaxies, their mutual gravity pulling them into weird shapes like taffy quadrillions of kilometers across," writes Phil Plait at Slate. But as amazing as Hubble's latest image is, the infrared-friendly James Webb telescope is expected to send back even greater deep-space shots after its launch in 2018, notes Chris Taylor at Mashable. "Use this one as your desktop for now, but be prepared to blow your mind with a lot better shots than this in a few years' time," he writes. (Another recent Hubble discovery: Jupiter's red spot is shrinking quickly.)

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Jun 5, 2014 12:08 PM CDT
This is called the Hubble Deep Field. Taken of a tiny, tiny part of the sky that was always dark and nobody found anything. It took super long exposures that revealed the wealth of galaxies pictured. Imagine the vast distances that must be involved here. Not only can you see whole galaxies but the distances between them and so many. It boggles the mind.
Jun 5, 2014 12:00 PM CDT
So a Universe is seen 14 Billion Light Years away which makes it "almost as old as the universe". Odd, that it formed that quick. Doesn't that bother anybody? How is that possible under current theories?
Gene Smith
Jun 4, 2014 7:30 PM CDT
Earth is just a microscopic dot in the universe. In fact, a dot only seen under an electron microscope. So, the question remains; are we Earthlings the only life form in all those microscopic dots in the universe? If the light we see is from billions of years ago, I just wonder if those galaxies are still there?