The new version of Hubble's depth image. In Dark Gray is the new light found in this field around the galaxies. This light corresponds to the brightness of more than 1
Credit: AS Borlaff et al.
One of the Hubble Space Telescope's most famous images peered deeper into the cosmos than the scientists had imagined.
That The photo is the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF), which combines hundreds of images taken by the Space Telescope over several years into the deepest view of the universe. The composite image of a small patch of sky contains a whopping 10,000 galaxies, astronomers have estimated. (The HUDF also refers to this sky, not just pictures.)
Now the researchers have painstakingly processed the iconic image and gained much extra light, a new study reports. [The Most Amazing Hubble Space Telescope Discoveries!]
"What we have done is to enhance the archive of the original images, which is directly observed by the HST, and to improve the combination process, whereby the best image quality is not only aimed for the distant smaller galaxies, but also for the extended regions of the largest galaxies, "said study leader Alejandro Borlaff from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) in the Canary Islands in a statement.
The new work revealed that some of the galaxies in the HUDF view are almost twice as large as previously assumed, said members of the study team.
The Hubble Space Telescope launched into orbit in April 1990 aboard the NASA Space Shuttle Discovery. The scope had an unfavorable start; The first images were blurry, a problem that led the members of the mission team back to a small flaw in Hubble's main mirror.
Spacewalk astronauts resolved this issue in December 1993, giving Hubble the sharp focus for which he is known today.