Looking into the distant past – the Ultra Deep Field.
This is truly the only way to travel into the past!
The Ultra Deep Field is an image of a small region of space in the constellation Fornax. This image was created, or rather composited, from Hubble Space Telescope data accumulated over a period from September 24, 2003 through to January 16, 2004.
The unique feature of this image is that it is the deepest image of the Universe ever taken, looking back approximately 13 billion years. It is being to search for galaxies that existed between 400 and 800 million years after the Big Bang.
The image was taken in a section of the sky which had a low density of nearby bright stars. This low density allowed the light from more distant parts of space to penetrate to Earth. It provided much better viewing of dimmer, more distant objects.
The image below contains an estimated 10,000 galaxies!
We are looking through a time machine at events of 13 billion years ago. What the condition there is now, we can come to know only after another 13 billion years have passed.
Truly, the awesome time scale, the massive number of galaxies just in this one shot and the fact that we saw something which happened so very, very long ago is truly mind-blowing.
See more images here!
As if this image was not amazing enough, Mike Gillis of Pennsylvania State University created an animation of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Using the measured redshift of all 10,000 galaxies in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image, he extrapolated the location of each galaxy in the field and created a 3D flythrough.
Tony Darnell who runs an amazing astronomy video collection on Youtube wrote a short script of the history of the deep field images, wrapped it around the fly-through and put it up on Youtube here. You can also view it below though in a smaller window.
Every galaxy in the image is in its proper distance as viewed from the telescope line of sight.
Credits – Jeremy A. in this post on his blog ‘The life of a priest is HELL” brought the video to my notice.