Astronomer helps create 'history book' image of the universe

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Astronomers have assembled a mosaic of nearly 7,500 images of one part of the sky, creating the largest and most comprehensive history book of the universe.

The Hubble Legacy Field (HLF) mosaic image combines observations from 16 years' worth of Hubble Space Telescope deep-field surveys, including the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF) survey, which offers the most far-reaching view of the universe. The image contains 265,000 that stretch back through 13.3 billion years of the universe's history, to just 500 million years after the big bang.

As astronomers look farther into , in terms of distance, it allows them to look farther back in time. The faintest and farthest galaxies in the new image are just one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see without a .

"Hubble has looked at this area of the sky many times over many years, and now we have combined all these photographs into a single, very high-quality, wide-angle image. It is like having a history book of the universe in one image," said Pieter van Dokkum, the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Astronomy at Yale and co-investigator on the team that assembled the image.

The new portrait shows how galaxies change over time, building themselves up to become the giant galaxies seen in the nearby universe. Studying galaxies allows astronomers to trace the expansion of the universe, offers clues to the underlying physics of the cosmos, indicates when the originated, and reveals the conditions that led to the appearance of life on Earth.

The HLF image contains 100 times as many galaxies as the previous deep field surveys—in part because it takes in a wider view. It covers an area of the sky that, viewed from Earth, is nearly the width of the Earth's Moon (or half the width of your forefinger held at arm's length). By comparison, the XDF survey, which focuses on the same region of the sky, covers an area of space less than one-tenth of the Moon's diameter.

"Now that we have gone wider than in previous surveys, we are harvesting many more distant galaxies in the largest such dataset ever produced," said Garth Illingworth of the University of California-Santa Cruz, leader of the team that assembled the image. "This one image contains the full history of the growth of galaxies in the universe, from their times as 'infants' to when they grew into fully-fledged 'adults.' No image will surpass this one until future space telescopes are launched."

The image comprises the collective work of 31 Hubble programs by different teams of astronomers. The full mosaic and its individual are available through the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST), an online database of astronomical data from Hubble and other NASA missions. MAST is a project of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Van Dokkum said astronomers hope to broaden the multi-wavelength range of the HLF images to include longer-wavelength infrared data and high-energy X-ray observations from two other members of the NASA Great Observatories program: the Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Meanwhile, the HLF team is working on a second set of images that will include more than 5,200 Hubble images from another area of the sky. It sets the stage for NASA's planned Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope, which will explore an even wider area of space than HLF.

Explore further

Hubble goes deep

Provided by Yale University
Citation: Astronomer helps create 'history book' image of the universe (2019, May 2) retrieved 19 July 2019 from
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

Feedback to editors

User comments

May 02, 2019
The investigation of the large scale structure of the World revealed its high inhomogeneity. During the last couple of decades a rich picture of groups, clusters and superclusters of the galaxies separated by a number of huge empty voids was released. The foam-like structure becomes more and more clear. The building blocks of the large scale structure are superclusters and voids which are forming the supercluster-void network. This network has pronounced filamentary structure. In this paper we discuss the mechanism of creation and stabilization of the Macrostructure of the World in the frame of elastonic model.

May 02, 2019
Unless the history book of the universe reads 46 trillion years old, we have a lot more work to do.

May 03, 2019
I want to appreciate Dr Okowa for using his herbal medicine to cure my family herpes virus,since 4 years ago my family have been having this herpes disease and it have been giving my family challenges,we were so perplexed cause my family have taken several drugs to be cure but every of our effort was in-vain,a fateful morning i was browsing through the internet then i saw several testimonies about Dr Okowa curing people of their herpes disease immediately i contacted Dr Okowa on his email:, told him about my family troubles and he told me that my family must be cure,so he prepare a herbal medicine for my family which we use for 1 weeks and everything was like a dream for my family,my family herpes disease was totally gone,why don't you contact him today and be free from your disease on email: contact him today for any sickness or infections for 100% guarantee cure, your health is your wealth. He also told me that he

May 18, 2019
I know lot of people having herpes virus where all told it has no cure, but am here to confirm it was a huge lie,because the world health organization wants to keep extorting money from citizen by telling us in the hospital herpes simplex virus and other kinds of disease like (HS 2) has no cure but only vaccine to control and not to cure.
Today am here as a living testimony of herbal cure that was prepare to me by Dr. Joe who is a herbal doctor that can cure all kinds of disease and virus in 3 weeks, his medication cured me from herpes after two complete of the dosage, God has send us this great opportunity to get herpes virus from our body system with the help of Dr. Joe herbal cure, just give him a trail and never regret it because he is 100% guaranteed of the cure kindly contact him on (, or ( He is a very honest man to work with you call his Mobile phone number or Whats App number him
(+1) 4146229522

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more