A Curtain of Cold, Primordial Hydrogen

“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 some of 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.”

More on Hubble’s recent exploits, with jaw-dropping pictures, here at the Hubblesite and here at NASA. Or skip right to the page for the most recently released images.

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