Astronomers on Thursday posted an incredible image using 16 years' worth of Hubble Space Telescope data.
Astronomers said that no other image will surpass the new portrait of the universe until future telescopes launch and look even deeper into the legacy field.
The findings from 31 different Hubble programs came together in order to assemble this image.
The Hubble focuses on areas in deep outer space "where some of the most profound mysteries are still buried in the mists of time".
This full view of the Hubble Legacy Field shows the uneven edges cropped out of the "cleaner" image, above, showing off all of the roughly 265,000 galaxies contained in the composite. The first of these surveys was the 1995 Hubble Deep Field survey, followed by the 2004 Hubble Ultra Deep Field and the 2012 Hubble eXtreme Deep Field. The mosaic of images seen here document 16 years of observations for the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.
By peering back through space and time, astronomers have learned more about how early galaxies formed and evolved, often from violent collisions with one another, which appear clearly in throughout the deep field images. The telescope took more than 800 exposures for a total time of 11.3 days.
"One exciting aspect of these new images is the large number of sensitive colour channels now available to view distant galaxies, especially in the ultraviolet part of the spectrum", explained tem member Rychard Bouwens of Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Since then, astronauts have flown out to Hubble several times to make repairs, upgrade cameras, and install new hardware, improving the observatory's view of deep space. It has widened the area of exploration until it now covers an area nearly as large as the full moon. Numerous objects that turned up in the image are located at the farthest edge of the universe; their light has traveled for billions of years to reach Earth. Hubble greatly expanded the ability of astronomers to see distant galaxies. Many of them are the remnants of galactic "train wrecks", a time in the early universe when small, young galaxies collided and merged with other galaxies.
Like watching individual frames of a motion picture, the Hubble deep surveys reveal the emergence of structure in the infant Universe and the subsequent dynamic stages of galaxy evolution. Galaxies help astronomers to trace the expansion of the universe, offering clues to the underlying physics of the cosmos, and also let us understand our solar system better.
The Hubble Wide View photograph yields a huge catalogue of distant galaxies.