By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY
Hubble space telescope scientists released the deepest view yet of the universe on Tuesday, a vista of galaxies more than 13.2 billion years old. Collecting 10 years of Hubble space telescope views of the constellation Fornax (the "furnace") in the southern sky, the view contains roughly 5,500 galaxies in a slice of the sky slimmer than the width of the moon.
"The faintest galaxies are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see," says a NASA statement on the eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, image. The view extends 13.2 billion light-years, where one light-year is about 5.9 trillion miles, to an era only 500 million years after the origin of the cosmos.
The XDF image will help astronomers study the oldest galaxies, and serve as a pointer for ones to study with NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, planned for a 2018 launch.