Hubble photo shows galaxies from toddler universe

This recent photo provided by NASA and the European Space Agency, and captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, shows the deepest image of the universe ever taken in near-infrared light. The faintest and reddest objects in the image are galaxies that formed 600 million years after the Big Bang. No galaxies have been seen before at such early times. The new deep view also provides insights into how galaxies grew in their formative years early in the universe's history.

NASA, European Space Agency/The Associated Press
Published: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 2:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 2:54 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The Hubble Space Telescope has captured a snapshot of when the universe was just a toddler, 600 million years after the Big Bang, the earliest image yet.

Astronomers Tuesday released their most complete picture of the early universe, gazing back as far as possible in time and distance. The photo shows galaxies with stars that are already hundreds of millions of years old, but with the unmistakable primordial signs of the first cluster of stars.

The Hubble picture captures those distant simpler galaxies juxtaposed amid closer, newer and more evolved ones. The result is a cosmic family photo that portrays galaxies at different ages and stages of development over the course of more than 13 billion years.

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