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Hubble Deep Field

              In 1993, the Hubble Space Telescope underwent a servicing mission where astronauts fixed its primary mirror and installed a new primary camera. Both changes made improvements to the Hubble Space Telescope. The HST changed in another way but not in the form of a repair. The telescope would now image a seemingly blank region in the Ursa Major constellation, the area now known as the Hubble Deep Field. The field has the same visual size as a dime’s width, 75 feet away. Scientists chose a region away from known galaxy clusters, for scientists felt their brightness would obstruct any new images produced. Originally thought to be a massive waste of time, this imaging revealed over 1500 galaxies at various life stages.

                The HST slowly collected light over days to form pictures of distant galaxies. Hubble targeted this region for a total of 50 days. The photo contains 10,000+ galaxies, each with thousands of stars. The galaxies range in age, some forming over billions of years ago, and some are only 600 million years old. For reference, the Big Bang happened approx. 13.8 billion years ago.


              When another scan focused on the field’s southern region, the picture was highly similar to the original, granting additional evidence that the universe looks the same in every direction. It has no center. Its discoveries supports the Big Bang Theory’s tenet that the universe expanded evenly, identically everywhere. Imaging also reveals uniquely-shaped galaxies within the universe. Usually, we see the spiral (hurricane-shaped) and elliptical (linear) galaxies, but the deep fields uncover many unique shapes.


              Ultimately, this discovery boosted the scientific popularity of deep imaging in space. The dataset helped scientists form a model of star formation and evolution. All the photos generated became publicly accessible, improving science communication.


Siegel, E. (2021, Sep. 13). This Is The Single Most Important Image In Astronomy’s History. Forbes. mportant-image-in-astronomys-history/?sh=439410d31ed9

Full WFPC2 Mosaic - Full Resolution. (1995, Jan. 15) ESA Hubble images/opo9601c/

HUBBLE EXTREME DEEP FIELD (XDF). (2012, Sep. 25) Hubblesite /contents/media/images/2012/37/3098-Image.html


Filmer, J. (2014, Jun. 27). Understanding the Famous Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Futurism.

14 mind-bogglingly awesome facts about the Hubble Deep Field images. (2020, Jan. 28) Inside The Perimeter -the-hubble-deep-field-images/

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