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The full Hubble Ultra Deep Field

Images: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI) and the HUDF Team

In the full Hubble Ultra Deep Field (above), astronomers used the Hubble Space Telescope to find 10,000 galaxies, most of which existed before the Sun and Earth were born. The light from these distant galaxies must travel for a long time before arriving at Earth. It takes billions of years for that light to arrive, so we are seeing the galaxies as they appeared when the light left them billions of years ago.

The area within the white square, above, is shown enlarged, below. The bright orange object with a distinctive cross shape, below, is a star, not a galaxy. The cross shape occurs whenever a star's very bright light passes through the telescope.

detail image from HUDF