More than a decade after they started, scientists have finally filled out their view of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field on the ultraviolet side of the spectrum. The updated image, released Tuesday, incorporates all the colors that the Hubble Space Telescope can detect, visible and invisible.
The Hubble Ultra Deep Field, or HUDF, catalogs thousands of galaxies in a small section of space in the southern constellation Fornax. Previous versions of the HUDF covered the range of wavelengths stretching from near-infrared through the visible spectrum, plus the far ultraviolet. But the near-ultraviolet part of the spectrum wasn't covered nearly as well.
"The lack of information from ultraviolet light made studying galaxies in the HUDF like trying to understand the history of families without knowing about the grade-school children," Caltech's Harry Teplitz, principal investigator for a project called Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, said in a news release.
Teplitz and his colleagues filled in the gap with fresh observations from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. The Hubble team says the newly filled-out picture should help astronomers understand how grade-school galaxies grew by forming small collections of very hot stars.
Teplitz presented the team's findings in Boston during a meeting of the American Astronomical Society.
First published June 3 2014, 12:15 PM
Alan Boyle is the science editor for NBC News Digital. He joined MSNBC.com at its inception in July 1996, and took on the science role in July 1997 with the landing of NASA's Mars Pathfinder probe. Boyle is responsible for coverage of science and space for NBCNews.com.
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Boyle joined NBCNews.com from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, where he was the foreign desk editor from 1987 to 1996. Boyle has won awards for science journalism from numerous organizations, including the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Association of Science Writers. Boyle is the author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference." He lives in Bellevue, Wash.