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Farthest Objects Ever Seen
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Farthest Objects Ever Seen

September 24, 2004
Detailed analyses of mankind's deepest optical view of the universe, the Hubble Ultra Deep Field (HUDF), by several expert teams have at last identified, what may turn out to be, the earliest star-forming galaxies. Astronomers are now debating whether the hottest stars in these early galaxies may have provided enough radiation to lift a curtain of cold, primordial hydrogen that cooled after the big bang. This is a problem that has perplexed astronomers over the past decade, and NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has at last glimpsed what could be the end of the opening act of galaxy formation. These faint sources illustrate how astronomers can begin to explore when the first galaxies formed and what their properties might be. But even though Hubble has looked 95 percent of the way back to the beginning of time, astronomers agree that's not far enough.


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