Astronomy

What is the farthest we can see into the universe?

What is the farthest we can see into the universe?


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Is there a limit in which the mass in space obscure the ability to detect anything farther even as technology progresses?

Related:

  • Can the range of the observable universe be extended through an intermediary?

  • Which galaxy is receding from the Milky Way the fastest? What is known of the mechanism behind its recession?


It depends. In some areas, far-away stuff is obscured by obstacles in the foreground. In other places, we can see almost all the way to the earliest (and furthest-away) galaxies, like in the Hubble Deep Field image:

The very earliest objects have so much redshift they disappear out of view for visible-light telescopes. That's where the JWST comes in: because it's an infrared telescope, it can capture objects that have too much redshift to be visible in a visible-light telescope.

Advances help us see more in other ways too. Gaia data revealed some small nearby galaxies which are mostly obscured by our own galaxy.


Architecture of the Universe

Within our observable Universe--the portion of the Universe we can examine--we see remarkable organization: countless stars grouped together as galaxies countless galaxies clumped into clusters clusters arranged in vast filaments, sheets, and bubbles. Astronomers think all of this began in a colossal explosion billions of years ago and evolved into the wondrous place we know and marvel at today: beautiful, elegant, violent, bizarre-and always surprising.


Hubble Telescope Reveals Farthest View Into Universe Ever

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the farthest-ever view into the universe, a photo that reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away.

The picture, called eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, combines 10 years of Hubble telescope views of one patch of sky. Only the accumulated light gathered over so many observation sessions can reveal such distant objects, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness that the human eye can see.

The photo is a sequel to the original "Hubble Ultra Deep Field," a picture the Hubble Space Telescope took in 2003 and 2004 that collected light over many hours to reveal thousands of distant galaxies in what was the deepest view of the universe so far. The XDF goes even farther, peering back 13.2 billion years into the universe's past. The universe is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old.

"The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen," Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. "XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before."

The photo reveals a wide range of galaxies, from spirals that are Milky Way-lookalikes, to hazy reddish blobs that are the result of collisions between galaxies. Some of the very tiny, faint galaxies could be the seeds from which the biggest galaxies around today grew. [ Most Amazing Hubble Discoveries ]

The XDF is a portrait of a small area of space in the southern constellation Fornax, and spans only a small fraction of the area of the full moon. Within that region, Hubble has revealed 5,500 galaxies, many of which existed shortly after the birth of the universe.

The farthest-away galaxies are 13.2 billion light-years from Earth, meaning their light has taken 13.2 billion years to travel to Hubble's cameras.

"The light from those past events is just arriving at Earth now, and so the XDF is a 'time tunnel into the distant past,'" according to a NASA statement. "The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the universe's birth in the Big Bang."

Hubble was only able to image these objects by amassing light in 2,000 images of the same area, with a total exposure time of 2 million seconds, through two of its cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Hubble was launched in April 1990, and has been visited by space shuttle crews five times since then for upgrades. The telescope, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, is still going strong, and scientists say the scope should be able to function through at least 2018.


Hubble XDF: 'Extreme Deep Field' Is Farthest View Ever Into Universe (PHOTO)

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the farthest-ever view into the universe, a photo that reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away.

The picture, called eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, combines 10 years of Hubble telescope views of one patch of sky. Only the accumulated light gathered over so many observation sessions can reveal such distant objects, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness that the human eye can see.

The photo is a sequel to the original "Hubble Ultra Deep Field," a picture the Hubble Space Telescope took in 2003 and 2004 that collected light over many hours to reveal thousands of distant galaxies in what was the deepest view of the universe so far. The XDF goes even farther, peering back 13.2 billion years into the universe's past. The universe is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old.

Story continues below.

"The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen," Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. "XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before."

The photo reveals a wide range of galaxies, from spirals that are Milky Way-lookalikes, to hazy reddish blobs that are the result of collisions between galaxies. Some of the very tiny, faint galaxies could be the seeds from which the biggest galaxies around today grew. [Most Amazing Hubble Discoveries]

The XDF is a portrait of a small area of space in the southern constellation Fornax, and spans only a small fraction of the area of the full moon. Within that region, Hubble has revealed 5,500 galaxies, many of which existed shortly after the birth of the universe.

The farthest-away galaxies are 13.2 billion light-years from Earth, meaning their light has taken 13.2 billion years to travel to Hubble's cameras.

"The light from those past events is just arriving at Earth now, and so the XDF is a 'time tunnel into the distant past,'" according to a NASA statement. "The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the universe's birth in the Big Bang."

Hubble was only able to image these objects by amassing light in 2,000 images of the same area, with a total exposure time of 2 million seconds, through two of its cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Hubble was launched in April 1990, and has been visited by space shuttle crews five times since then for upgrades. The telescope, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, is still going strong, and scientists say the scope should be able to function through at least 2018.


Hubble Telescope Reveals Farthest View Into Universe Ever

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the farthest-ever view into the universe, a photo that reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away.

The picture, called eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, combines 10 years of Hubble telescope views of one patch of sky. Only the accumulated light gathered over so many observation sessions can reveal such distant objects, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness that the human eye can see.

The photo is a sequel to the original "Hubble Ultra Deep Field," a picture the Hubble Space Telescope took in 2003 and 2004 that collected light over many hours to reveal thousands of distant galaxies in what was the deepest view of the universe so far. The XDF goes even farther, peering back 13.2 billion years into the universe's past. The universe is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old.

"The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen," Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. "XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before."

The photo reveals a wide range of galaxies, from spirals that are Milky Way-lookalikes, to hazy reddish blobs that are the result of collisions between galaxies. Some of the very tiny, faint galaxies could be the seeds from which the biggest galaxies around today grew. [Most Amazing Hubble Discoveries]

The XDF is a portrait of a small area of space in the southern constellation Fornax, and spans only a small fraction of the area of the full moon. Within that region, Hubble has revealed 5,500 galaxies, many of which existed shortly after the birth of the universe.

The farthest-away galaxies are 13.2 billion light-years from Earth, meaning their light has taken 13.2 billion years to travel to Hubble's cameras.

"The light from those past events is just arriving at Earth now, and so the XDF is a 'time tunnel into the distant past,'" according to a NASA statement. "The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the universe's birth in the Big Bang."

Hubble was only able to image these objects by amassing light in 2,000 images of the same area, with a total exposure time of 2 million seconds, through two of its cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Hubble was launched in April 1990, and has been visited by space shuttle crews five times since then for upgrades. The telescope, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, is still going strong, and scientists say the scope should be able to function through at least 2018.


More On This.

The XDF is a portrait of a small area of space in the southern constellation Fornax, and spans only a small fraction of the area of the full moon. Within that region, Hubble has revealed 5,500 galaxies, many of which existed shortly after the birth of the universe.

The farthest-away galaxies are 13.2 billion light-years from Earth, meaning their light has taken 13.2 billion years to travel to Hubble's cameras.

"The light from those past events is just arriving at Earth now, and so the XDF is a 'time tunnel into the distant past,'" according to a NASA statement. "The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the universe's birth in the Big Bang."

Hubble was only able to image these objects by amassing light in 2,000 images of the same area, with a total exposure time of 2 million seconds, through two of its cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Hubble was launched in April 1990, and has been visited by space shuttle crews five times since then for upgrades. The telescope, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, is still going strong, and scientists say the scope should be able to function through at least 2018.


What is the farthest we can see into the universe? - Astronomy

Where is the farthest in space that we went up to? A galaxy? Another solar system?

The farthest in space that humans have gone is the moon, most recently during the Apollo 17 mission in December 1972.

The farthest that any object made by humans has gone is slightly outside of our own solar system (farther out than any of the planets, that is, but still within the reach of the sun's influence). According to NASA, as of January 2001 the Voyager 1 mission (originally launched in 1977 to study the outer planets) was 12 billion kilometers from the sun (around 80 times the Earth-Sun distance) and moving away at a rate of several hundred million kilometers per year.

Update from Ann: As of June 2015, Dave's answer above is still true for human exploration of space. Voyager 1, though, is still out there hurtling through space in its 38th year of operation. Voyager 1 even still communicates with us on Earth! Currently, Voyager 1 is about 130 times the Earth-Sun distance, or 19.5 billion kilomers from home. Not only is Voyager 1 the furthest spacecraft from Earth, it's also now officially the only spacecraft to have ever left the solar system. Voyager 1 crossed the region known as the "heliopause" starting in 2012, and is now considered to truly be in interstellar space.

Page last updated on June 22, 2015, by Ann Martin.

About the Author

Dave Rothstein

Dave is a former graduate student and postdoctoral researcher at Cornell who used infrared and X-ray observations and theoretical computer models to study accreting black holes in our Galaxy. He also did most of the development for the former version of the site.


Hubble Telescope Reveals Farthest View Into Universe Ever

The Hubble Space Telescope has captured the farthest-ever view into the universe, a photo that reveals thousands of galaxies billions of light-years away.

The picture, called eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, combines 10 years of Hubble telescope views of one patch of sky. Only the accumulated light gathered over so many observation sessions can reveal such distant objects, some of which are one ten-billionth the brightness that the human eye can see.

The photo is a sequel to the original "Hubble Ultra Deep Field," a picture the Hubble Space Telescope took in 2003 and 2004 that collected light over many hours to reveal thousands of distant galaxies in what was the deepest view of the universe so far. The XDF goes even farther, peering back 13.2 billion years into the universe's past. The universe is thought to be about 13.7 billion years old.

"The XDF is the deepest image of the sky ever obtained and reveals the faintest and most distant galaxies ever seen," Garth Illingworth of the University of California at Santa Cruz, principal investigator of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field 2009 program, said in a statement. "XDF allows us to explore further back in time than ever before."

The photo reveals a wide range of galaxies, from spirals that are Milky Way-lookalikes, to hazy reddish blobs that are the result of collisions between galaxies. Some of the very tiny, faint galaxies could be the seeds from which the biggest galaxies around today grew. [Most Amazing Hubble Discoveries]

The XDF is a portrait of a small area of space in the southern constellation Fornax, and spans only a small fraction of the area of the full moon. Within that region, Hubble has revealed 5,500 galaxies, many of which existed shortly after the birth of the universe.

The farthest-away galaxies are 13.2 billion light-years from Earth, meaning their light has taken 13.2 billion years to travel to Hubble's cameras.

"The light from those past events is just arriving at Earth now, and so the XDF is a 'time tunnel into the distant past,'" according to a NASA statement. "The youngest galaxy found in the XDF existed just 450 million years after the universe's birth in the Big Bang."

Hubble was only able to image these objects by amassing light in 2,000 images of the same area, with a total exposure time of 2 million seconds, through two of its cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3.

Hubble was launched in April 1990, and has been visited by space shuttle crews five times since then for upgrades. The telescope, a collaboration between NASA and the European Space Agency, is still going strong, and scientists say the scope should be able to function through at least 2018.


Gazing out into the universe…

Let Tim’s parting words resonate with you a little longer.

“It makes you realize that all of your problems… it really just doesn’t matter. You realize that you are a part of this universe.”

Tim Doucette, The Blind Astronomer.

To understand the expanse of the universe is to embrace our connection to it and, in particular, our connection to each other. In all of that vastness, we are the only Earth, the only homo sapiens. If we truly understand our unique place within it all, our seemingly incessant need for games of “them” versus “us” becomes ridiculous.

If we give ourselves some perspective, our similarities shine through. Though it may be a hard pill to swallow, in the greater scheme of things, we are all far more similar than we may care to admit.

Look Up! The Importance of Stargazing

What can the night sky teach us about our own humanity? Whether you are looking up through the lights of the big city or surrounded by vast wilderness, stargazing can play an important role in reframing our perspective.

What if we took comfort in our connectedness, both to the universe and each other? What discoveries, what humanity would we find? These aren’t easy questions, but as we venture further into the stars they are certainly questions we will have to answer.

Stay beautiful & keep laughing!

Have you tried our “surprise me” button yet?

For a much more fun way of exploring our archive head over to our sidebar and give our “Surprise Me!” button a try! (Or, just click that link!)

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Hubble And Keck Find Farthest Known Galaxy In The Universe

16 February 2004 -- An international team of astronomers may have set a new record in discovering what is the most distant known galaxy in the Universe. Located an estimated 13 billion light-years away, the object is being viewed at a time only 750 million years after the big bang, when the Universe was barely 5 percent of its current age. The primeval galaxy was identified by combining the power of the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and CARA's W. M. Keck Telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. These great observatories got a boost from the added magnification of a natural &lsquocosmic gravitational lens&rsquo in space that further amplifies the brightness of the distant object. The newly discovered galaxy is likely to be a young galaxy shining during the end of the so-called "Dark Ages" - the period in cosmic history which ended with the first galaxies and quasars transforming opaque, molecular hydrogen into the transparent, ionized Universe we see today.

The new galaxy was detected in a long exposure of the nearby cluster of galaxies Abell 2218, taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys on board the Hubble Space Telescope. This cluster is so massive that the light of distant objects passing through the cluster actually bends and is amplified, much as a magnifying glass bends and magnifies objects seen through it. Such natural gravitational &lsquotelescopes&rsquo allow astronomers to see extremely distant and faint objects that could otherwise not be seen. The extremely faint galaxy is so far away its visible light has been stretched into infrared wavelengths, making the observations particularly difficult. "As we were searching for distant galaxies magnified by Abell 2218, we detected a pair of strikingly similar images whose arrangement and colour indicate a very distant object," said astronomer Jean-Paul Kneib (Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées and California Institute of Technology), who is lead author reporting the discovery in a forthcoming article in the Astrophysical Journal. Analysis of a sequence of Hubble images indicate the object lies between a redshift of 6.6 and 7.1, making it the most distant source currently known. However, long exposures in the optical and infrared taken with spectrographs on the 10-meter Keck telescopes suggests that the object has a redshift towards the upper end of this range, around redshift 7.

Redshift is a measure of how much the wavelengths of light are shifted to longer wavelengths. The greater the shift in wavelength toward the redder regions of the spectrum, the more distant the object is.

"The galaxy we have discovered is extremely faint, and verifying its distance has been an extraordinarily challenging adventure," said Dr. Kneib. "Without the 25 x magnification afforded by the foreground cluster, this early object could simply not have been identified or studied in any detail at all with the present telescopes available. Even with aid of the cosmic lens, the discovery has only been possible by pushing our current observatories to the limits of their capabilities!"

Using the combination of the high resolution of Hubble and the large magnification of the cosmic lens, the astronomers estimate that this object, although very small - only 2,000 light-years across - is forming stars extremely actively. However, two intriguing properties of the new source are the apparent lack of the typically bright hydrogen emission line and its intense ultraviolet light which is much stronger than that seen in star-forming galaxies closer by.

"The properties of this distant source are very exciting because, if verified by further study, they could represent the hallmark of a truly young stellar system that ended the Dark Ages" added Dr. Richard Ellis, Steele Professor of Astronomy at Caltech, and a co-author in the article.

The team is encouraged by the success of their technique and plans to continue the search for more examples by looking through other cosmic lenses in the sky. Hubble's exceptional resolution makes it ideally suited for such searches.

"Estimating the abundance and characteristic properties of sources at early times is particularly important in understanding how the Universe reionized itself, thus ending the Dark Ages," said Mike Santos, a former Caltech graduate student, now a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK. "The cosmic lens has given us a first glimpse into this important epoch. We are now eager to learn more by finding further examples, although it will no doubt be challenging."

"We are looking at the first evidence of our ancestors on the evolutionary tree of the entire Universe," said Dr. Frederic Chaffee, director of the W. M. Keck Observatory, home to the twin 10-meter Keck telescopes that confirmed the discovery. "Telescopes are virtual time machines, allowing our astronomers to look back to the early history of the cosmos, and these marvellous observations are of the earliest time yet." Notes for editors The team reporting on the discovery consists of Drs. Jean-Paul Kneib (Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, France/Caltech, USA), Richard S. Ellis (Caltech, USA), Michael R. Santos (Caltech/Institute of Astronomy, UK) and Johan Richard (Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, France/Caltech, USA).

Animations of the discovery and general Hubble Space Telescope background footage are available from http://www.spacetelescope.org/bin/videos.pl?type=news&string=heic0404

Image credits: European Space Agency, NASA, J.-P. Kneib (Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées) and R. Ellis (Caltech)

Story Source:

Materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Ice Cube are advertising a job at the South Pole

OK, this last paragraph is simply a bit of fun, but it’s a real job offer …

These positions serve as the IceCube “Winterovers” and will be deployed to the South Pole for 12-13 months. Training for two candidates is anticipated to begin in Madison, WI in July, 2018. Deployment to the South Pole is expected to be in early October, 2018 for 12-13 months with no possibility of leaving during the winter months from mid-February, 2019 to mid-October, 2019.

A trip to the South Pole sounds fun … but being paid to go there for 12 months would be truly a blast.

They are looking for Linux admins who can write shells scripts and also python … but … you should also be aware that its a rather long trek to the nearest Starbucks, and in winter the outside temperature is -73C.


Watch the video: Holografski svemir 12 (January 2023).