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Hubble and Spitzer Uncover Smallest Galaxy Building Blocks

Hubble and Spitzer Uncover Smallest Galaxy Building Blocks

Date: 06 September 2007
Satellite: Hubble Space Telescope
Depicts: Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF)
Copyright: NASA, ESA, and N. Pirzkal (European Space Agency/STScI)

In this image of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), several objects are identified as the faintest, most compact galaxies ever observed in the distant Universe. They are so far away that we see them as they looked less than one thousand million years after the Big Bang. Blazing with the brilliance of millions of stars, each of the newly discovered galaxies is a hundred to a thousand times smaller than our Milky Way Galaxy.

The bottom row of pictures shows five of the nine compact galaxies in the HUDF studied by Pirzkal et al. [2007], with their distance expressed in redshift in the lower right corner. Three of the galaxies appear to be slightly disrupted. Rather than being round-shaped, they appear stretched into tadpole-like forms. This is a sign that they may be interacting and merging with neighbouring galaxies to form larger structures.

The detection required joint observations between Hubble and NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Blue light seen by Hubble shows the presence of young stars. The absence of infrared light from Spitzer observations conclusively shows that these are truly young galaxies without an earlier generation of stars.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
28-Jan-2023 11:05 UT

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