This photo is of a narrow view of the universe containing only some 10,000 of the 100 billion galaxies out there. The first-of-its-kind comprehensive picture of the evolving universe provides the missing link in star formation, researchers said.

Astronomers previously studied the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) in visible and near-infrared light in a series of images captured from 2003 to 2009. The HUDF shows a small section of space in the southern-hemisphere constellation Fornax.   

Now, using ultraviolet light, astronomers have combined the full range of colours available to Hubble, stretching all the way from ultraviolet to near-infrared light. The resulting image - made from 841 orbits of telescope viewing time - contains approximately 10,000 galaxies, extending back in time to within a few hundred million years of the big bang.

"The lack of information from ultraviolet light made studying galaxies in the HUDF like trying to understand the history of families without knowing about the grade-school children," said principal investigator Harry Teplitz of California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, US.

The addition of the ultraviolet fills in this missing range, Teplitz added. Ultraviolet light comes from the hottest, largest and youngest stars.

By observing at these wavelengths, researchers get a direct look at which galaxies are forming stars and where the stars are forming within those galaxies.


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