These are the Earliest Views yet of the Universe by Hubble Space Telescope. Astronomers found a group of very young galaxies that formed when the universe was just 3 percent of its age. Image credit: NASA, ESA, R. Ellis (Caltech), and the UDF 2012 Team
This new image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF) 2012 campaign reveals a previously unseen population of seven faraway galaxies, which are observed as they appeared in a period 350 million to 600 million years after the big bang.
These seven primitive galaxies formed more than 13 billion years ago.
The deepest images to date from Hubble yield the first statistically robust sample of galaxies that tells how abundant they were close to the era when galaxies first formed.
The results show a smooth decline in the number of galaxies with increasing look-back time to about 450 million years after the big bang. The observations support the idea that galaxies assembled continuously over time and also may have provided enough radiation to reheat, or reionize, the universe a few hundred million years after the big bang.
These pioneering observations blaze a trail for future exploration of this epoch by NASA’s next-generation spacecraft, the James Webb Space Telescope. Looking deeper into the universe also means peering farther back in time.
The universe is now 13.7 billion years old.