The Hubble Space Telescope has been busy for the past decade, and there’s an image to show for it; the most far-reaching image of the universe ever seen by human eyes.
This picture is the result of those ten years, a conglomeration of images that captured around 5,500 galaxies, many of which are one ten billionth of the brightness that human eyes can perceive. Called the Extreme Deep Field, or XDF, this picture has trounced 2004′s Hubble Ultra Deep Field by peering back 13.2 billion years into the universe’s past. To put that in perspective, the universe in its entirety is thought to be 13.7 billion years old. Via Popular Science:
“The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen,” Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. “XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before.”
The photo reveals a wide range of galaxies, from spirals that are Milky Way-lookalikes to hazy reddish blobs that are the result of collisions between galaxies. Some of the very tiny, faint galaxies could be the seeds from which the biggest galaxies around today grew.
With this landmark photo, the distance between human kind and the origins of our universe is smaller than ever.