PetaPixel

A Mind-Bending Look at the Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photo of the Universe

Check out this mind-bending video that talks about the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field” image captured by NASA astronomers nearly a decade ago — a photograph that some call “the most important image ever taken.”

It all started back in 1996 when a group of astronomers pointed the Hubble Space Telescope at an empty patch in the sky close to the Big Dipper in hopes of seeing something, anything. At the time, it was considered to be a risky move, given that demand for use of the telescope was so high. What if the experiment yielded no results? What if nothing but an empty image was the final result?

After ten full days of exposing the telescope’s CCD camera sensor to this seemingly vacuous patch of sky, a breathtaking image was produced. Over three thousand galaxies appeared in one image — some as dots, others as spirals. It was a visual reminder of just how big our universe really is. The photo is called the “Hubble Deep Field“:

hdf

In 2004, astronomers pointed Hubble near constellation Orion and opened the shutter for a whopping 11 days. Using sensitive detectors and specialized filters, the telescope was able to capture an image with over 10,000 galaxies. This image became known as the “Hubble Ultra Deep Field.”

hudf

As the video above shares, scientists later used redshift calculations of the galaxies to turn the photograph into a “fly-thru” view of the photo:

It didn’t end there. Last year, NASA scientists created the Hubble Extreme Deep Field, which has an equivalent exposure time to 23 days and features. It’s the “deepest image of the sky ever obtained” that reveals “the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen”:

The Hubble eXtreme Deep Field

And just think: scientists created these photos by pointing their mega-camera at a tiny speck of the night sky that appears to be completely devoid of visible stars!


 
 
  • Gary

    Universe? What a laugh! The universe is infinite and humans will never – by any technology – observe the whole of it, as it is without boundaries or end. The arrogant hubris of these so-called “astronomers” is even suggesting they have observed the universe is an insult to anyone who grasps what the universe is.

  • crummett

    Jeez, pedantic much? What else would you call it? It may be a very, very tiny sliver of the universe, but it _is_ the universe they’re looking at. “So-called ‘astronomers’?” WTF? Again, what else would you call them?
    And “arrogant hubris”? “Anyone who grasps what the universe is” will be humbled by it, not arrogant, as this post is obviously pointing out. You will never, ever, ever find any scientist who will say, “OK, now we know all there is to know about X.”

  • Gman

    I wasn’t convinced until I heard the background of angels singing. What an amazing value add to the production that is.

  • Stormin

    and imagine if they installed Magic Lantern into the Hubble…

  • dannybuoy

    Makes me want to cry

  • Brad

    AWESOME

  • Boombrusher

    Why only 11 days? Based off of this information, I would say we should mount something similar to the space station or something and leave it pointed in the same direction for as long as possible. Also, why don’t we do the same for Earth-like planets? We should be able to capture high res alien breeding by now! WTF :D Alien PR0n!!

  • SDX

    Consider mentioning the XDF (Hubble Extreme Deep Field). It’s todays “deepest” photo, and has a exposure time of over 23 days, made in 2012.

  • Dave Belcher

    Absolutley ASTONISHING!

  • OSAM

    Hubble can be positioned to be kept in one place for 11 days; the space station can’t.

  • ms

    But what about when Kanye hit his head into that sign? I thought that was a pretty important image as well…

  • Freppelepp

    And still people desperately hold on to their fairy tales

  • Jeebus

    neat-o torpedo

  • Boombrusher

    Taking the SS’s rotation around the earth and the earths rotation around the sun and any other relevant positioning into consideration and then programming the scope to track an unobstructed path for as long as possible. Sounds easy enough to me.

  • edward williams

    Just think I cant enjoy this because my species is commiting suicide