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eXtreme Deep Field
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Photo taken by the Hubble Space Telescope

The image shows the eXtreme Deep Field, a compilation of observations made in visible and near-infrared light of a portion of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

Facts of interest about the image

More than 2,900 separate observations representing 50 days of observation time were combined for the image.

Classroom activity

Included is an inquiry-based classroom activity that focuses on the image and text.


This image from the Hubble Space Telescope shows the eXtreme Deep Field, a portion of the HUDF that was observed over 10 years in visible and near-infrared light. Astronomers combined nearly 3,000 separate observations to make this image. The image shows galaxies in different stages of evolution. In vibrant contrast to the image's rich harvest of classic spiral and elliptical galaxies, there is a zoo of oddball galaxies littering the field. Some look like toothpicks; others like links on a bracelet. A few appear to be interacting. The information contained in the text can be used to introduce the idea that galaxies change over time. The lithograph package includes an inquiry-based classroom activity.

10-12, but the material can be adapted for use in other grades at the teacher's discretion
How to use in the classroom

Teachers can use this lithograph as:

An example of the evolution of galaxies. Use the inquiry-based classroom activity called "In Search of … Galaxy Evolution" that is included with the PDF lithograph.

An engagement tool in an inquiry-based lesson. Have students study the eXtreme Deep Field image on the front of the lithograph. Ask them to write down any questions they have about the image. When the students are finished, their questions can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Ask students to find the answers to their questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Have students exchange papers so that each student has someone else's questions. Then have them find the answers to their partner's questions by reading the back of the lithograph and/or the related materials listed below.

  • Gather the questions into a list by asking students to volunteer to read their questions while you or another student records them on the board or on an overhead projector transparency. Ask students to raise their hands if they have the same or a similar question. Count the number of hands raised and record this number next to the question. Once all the student questions have been added to the list, have students search for the answers to their questions in the text on the back of the lithograph. When they complete that task, ask them to decide if each of their questions was answered completely, answered partially, or not answered at all. Go through the original list and place an "A" in front of the questions that were answered completely, a "P" for those that were partially answered, and an "N" for those that were not answered at all. Determine if the most commonly asked questions were also completely answered. Encourage students to do further research to find answers to the unanswered questions.

A content reading tool. Have students read the back of the lithograph and then write a quiz for the class.

Related materials