Working here at GFR, there have been plenty of times when I’ve seen some new photograph of our crazy, beautiful universe and thought, ” Well, that’s it. It doesn’t get any more amazing than that.” So, when I took a look at this new picture compiled from 10 years’ worth of Hubble Telescope photographs, I immediately thought, “Well, that’s it. It doesn’t get any more amazing than that.” Except this time I think I may actually be right.
Most of those colorful blobs below aren’t stars; they’re some 5,500 galaxies (Click the image to embigen.)
The shot is of what’s called the XDF, or eXtreme Deep Field. It is the “deepest” image of the cosmos ever taken. In addition to making us feel very, very tiny, the shot is also one of the most detailed pictures of the early universe we’ve got. The oldest of the galaxies in the image is around 13 billion light years away. And for those of you keeping count, yes that means this is a picture of what that most distant galaxy looked like 13 billion years ago. The light from that furthest galaxy is nearly three times the age of our home planet. You’re looking at starlight that began its trek through the cosmos not long after — in cosmic terms — the birth of our universe. And they say time travel is impossible…
Oh, and just in case that image up above doesn’t instill in you a profound sense of awe and wonder at just how enormous our universe is…here’s a picture showing how much of our sky it was taken from. You might want to sit down.
I’m out of words. Hey, Neil deGrasse Tyson, can you take us out?