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Hubble images show 12 billion year-old galaxies

A series of images from the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) take a look back at more than 12 billion years of history.

The origins of the universe are closer to being revealed. A series of images from the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) take a look back at more than 12 billion years of history.

This new series of images, which look at the Southern Field of a galaxy census referred to as the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS), show a massive range of galaxy ages from the very young to the very mature. These images are full-color, from ultraviolet to near-infrared, and have a level of clarity, accuracy, and depth that has never before been attainable.

Hubble's new high-resolution and color abilities provided by these two cameras enable scientists to analyze the images and reveal galaxies that existed more than 12 billion years ago, right after the Big Bang. These ancient galaxies probably merged, collided, and otherwise changed in the ensuing years to appear more like the Milky Way and other known neighborhood galaxies, including several galaxies visible in the South Field. The evolution of these early galaxies into more mature galaxies can be inferred through the intermediary galaxies also visible in this massive field.

Estimations of this image put the number of galaxies depicted at about 7,500, from galaxies a billion light years away to those over 13 billion light years away, a scant 650 million years after the Big Bang. All of this in a slice of space about one-third of the diameter of the moon.

For more information, read NASA's news release about these images. To see the images, check out TechRepublic's related gallery.

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