Extended Groth Strip
This panoramic image of sky near the Big Dipper contains at least 50,000 galaxies and took NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope nearly a year and 500 separate exposures to create, and yet it is only a very narrow area (70 arcminutes by 10 arcminutes). It is small sample typical of many, many such sections of sky, in all directions, which puts the vastness of space into dizzying perspective.
For this project astronomers looked deeply rather than broadly, seeing back in time to the universe’s youth. Hubble provides amazing detail on a wide diversity of galaxies; some are beautiful spirals or massive elliptical galaxies like those seen in the nearby universe, but others look like random assemblages of material, the leftovers from violent mergers of young galaxies. These resemble some of the most distant, youngest galaxies observed.
Despite Hubble’s powerful resolution and sensitivity, there are still galaxies so far away that they are beyond its view. Future observatories like NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will follow up and look back to the universe’s infancy with instruments that can detect more infrared light.
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA, ESA, and M. Davis (University of California, Berkeley)