The Hubble Space Telescope has created some of the most remarkable flashes of distant objects humans have ever imagined, but one particular image has repeatedly reinforced researchers and continues to bring new discoveries.
It's a composite image of a space region known as the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field, and it took hundreds of hours to produce a 3-telescope widescreen camera. Observations have revealed an ancient galaxy dating back more than 13.2 billion years, and it is the "deepest" image of space that exists. Now the new effort to find original images for further details has resulted in an even deeper insight into this area of space.
In a new article published in Astronomy and astrophysics, researchers from the Canary Islands in Spain explain how they could find the original objects hidden in the original Hubble images that were not visible in the larger composite.
"What we've done is to go back to the original image archive directly as HST watched them, and improve the combination process to achieve the best image quality not only for the smaller galaxies but also for the extended areas of the largest galaxies," said Alejandro S Borlaff from the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries (IAC).
The resulting image looks a bit odd compared to the original composite, but it is easier to see how new light sources look from its former black canvas. These new "ultra-deep" images show objects that are more distant than the closer foreground galaxies dating back some 13.2 billion years ago.
Pipes that the team used to detect hidden light sources could potentially be used with other space images and teach us even more about what lies outside.