Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

June 28, 1996

A Distant Galaxy in the Deep Field
Credit: K. Lanzetta and A. Yahil (SUNY) and NASA

Explanation: Researchers believe that the faint reddish smudge indicated by the arrow in the image above is a candidate for the most distant known galaxy which may have existed only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang. The image is part of the Hubble Deep Field, the Hubble Space Telescope's deepest yet picture of the Universe. Made in December 1995 by staring for ten consecutive days with the Hubble, astronomers have been intently studying the resulting deep field image filled with remote galaxies for clues to what galaxies and the Universe looked like in the distant past. While nearby galaxies are easily detected in the image - some seen here have visible elliptical and even spiral structures - the most distant (and therefore oldest) galaxies must be identified by examining their appearance in different wavelengths of light. Based on this technique, six of the most distant galaxies in the Deep Field appear to be farther away than even quasars.

Tomorrow's picture: The Voyagers' Message in a Bottle

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