16 Years of Hubble Data In One Incredible Picture. The Hubble Legacy Field

16 Years of Hubble Data In One Incredible Picture. The Hubble Legacy Field

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope launched on
April 24, 1990, and it’s been hard at work ever since, studying the cosmos like no other
observatory in human history. Several times in its journey, astronomers
have called upon Hubble to study a single spot in the sky for weeks at a time, staring
as far as it can, almost to the edge of the observable Universe. These are the deep fields, including the most
recent Hubble eXtreme Deep Field. Now all of these data have been mashed together
into a single image, spanning more than 250 days of observations. It’s called the Hubble Legacy Field. It’s full of galaxies. After the launch of Hubble NASA and ESA realized
they had a big problem with the telescope’s optics, one that could only be repaired by
astronauts physically visiting and fixing the telescope. Astronauts arrived in December 1993 with new
instruments and the equipment that it would take to fix the flaw. Once the mission was complete, astronomers
took some test images of an empty region of the sky to calibrate the telescope’s new
optics. What looked like empty space to other telescopes
was revealed to be filled with galaxies in the eyes of Hubble. In 1996, Hubble performed its first Deep Field
Survey, staring at a region of the sky near the constellation Ursa Major for more than
100 hours, over 10 consecutive days, gathering 342 separate exposures. They chose this region because it’s high
above the Milky Way, and is as empty as possible of foreground stars. The field was tiny; imagine the size of a
dime located 23 meters or 75 feet away. In this single image, Hubble turned up almost
3,000 galaxies, most of which had never been seen before. Galaxies which were 4 billion times fainter
than can be seen by the human eye. And in this image, astronomers saw galaxies
10 billion years old, at a time when the Universe was less than a third of its current age. It was like using a time machine to go back
to the early Universe to see what it looked like near the beginning of time itself. Over the next few years, Hubble received several
upgrades. Astronauts flew back to the aging telescope
to fix its failing gyros and install additional instruments. On March 1, 2002, astronauts arrived to install
its most sensitive instrument yet: the Advanced Camera for Surveys. This was a modern astronomical CCD camera
that was 10 times more sensitive than the previous camera, allowing Hubble to look even
farther into space and further back in time. It was time to do another deep field. In 2004, NASA and ESA released the Hubble
Ultra Deep Field, another marathon observing session that took advantage of the newly installed
Advanced Camera for Surveys. This time Hubble stared into a tiny region
in the constellation Fornax for one million seconds or 11 and half days. In this one image, a region that ground-based
telescopes find mostly empty, Hubble saw 10,000 galaxies. Young galaxies, old galaxies, and galaxies
smashing into each other. Some were seen at a time 13 billion light-years
ago, less than a billion years after the Big Bang itself. Hubble then viewed these same regions in infrared
using its Wide Field Camera 3, finding objects that were even more distant, just 450 million
years after the Big Bang. In 2012, astronomers released the eXtreme
Hubble Deep Field. This wasn’t a new set of observations, but
a combination of all the data Hubble had captured in the Fornax region. The overlapping observations took up a smaller
part of the sky, containing only 5,500 galaxies, but with more more sensitivity. The faintest are one ten-billionth the brightness
of what the human eye can see. And finally, this week, NASA and ESA announced
their latest work from the telescope: the Hubble Legacy Field. 250,000 galaxies in one picture. And we’ll get to that in a second, but first
I’d like to thank Patrons some more special patrons who have supported me for over 5 years
: Romain
Fred Manzella Chris Capobianco
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generous support. They contribute so that you can see these
videos, and we can make them freely available to anyone who wants to learn about space. Join our community at patreon.com/universetoday
and get in on the action. Okay, I’ll admit, this video was mostly
just me being nostalgic about the Hubble Deep Field pictures. But I promised news. Let’s get into it. Last week, we got to see the newest image
from the Deep Field series. It’s called the Hubble Legacy Field, and
it’s made up of 16 years of Hubble observations. This image is a mosaic, made up of 7,500 individual
exposures, and contains 265,000 galaxies stretching back to 13.3 billion years ago, just 500 million
years after the Big Bang. The raw data in the image covers wavelengths
from infrared through visible to ultraviolet, revealing every stage of galaxy formation. From the earliest proto galaxies to the more
recent mature galaxies. Many are the result of collisions between
galaxies and even galaxy clusters in the early Universe, stirring up regions of furious star
formation. This photo is much wider than previous surveys,
covering a region of the sky about as big as the full Moon; a region that encompasses
the original eXtreme Deep Field and much more. All in all, Hubble has spent 250 days observing
this one region of the sky, more time than anywhere else it’s looked. 265,000 galaxies in one picture. Mind blown. Of course, their work isn’t done. A second set of images are the works, which
will be made up of more than 5,200 exposures. And the team is planning to combine these
with surveys taken by NASA’s other Great Observatories, Spitzer and Chandra, to add
longer wavelength infrared and high energy X-rays to the image. Future telescopes will add onto this legacy,
looking deeper and surveying other wavelengths. The most exciting contributor will of course
be the James Webb Space Telescope, due for launch on March 30, 2021. With more than six times the collecting area,
James Webb will peer back to the earliest moments in the Universe and see the first
stars and galaxies forming in the cosmos. It’ll watch these early galaxies crashing
into each other to form larger and larger structures. Oh, and not to mention watching the birth
of stars, and the planets orbiting around them. But I’m sure there will be a James Webb
Deep Field. I can’t wait to see it. What do you think? Let me know your thoughts in the comments. Once a week I gather up all my space news
into a single email newsletter and send it out. It’s got pictures, brief highlights about
the story, and links so you can find out more. Go to universetoday.com/newsletter to sign
up. Did you know that all of my videos are also
available in a handy audio podcast format, so you can have the latest episodes show up
right on your audio device. Go to universetoday.com/audio, or search for
Universe Today on iTunes, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. I’ll put a link in the shownotes. And finally, here’s a playlist.

Dereck Turner

100 thoughts on “16 Years of Hubble Data In One Incredible Picture. The Hubble Legacy Field

  1. bmstalker says:

    I'm not sure how to word this question but I'll give it a shot. We are aware that all stars/galaxies are moving away from us an an accelerating rate. Are stars/galaxies on one "side" of our planet moving away faster than the other (suggesting a universe center) or is it uniform in all directions suggesting no center?

  2. István Sipos says:

    seeing how HUGE and new and complex the JW telescope will be, and keeping in mind that they won't be able to send any repair mission to that thing, can you (every1 here) imagine that it will work? I mean, if a 2 cent part is not working, the whole thing is not working. new technologies always become routine and every day stuff, but those have capable teams nearby to cure every early hickups. I don't know about any brand new technology that worked flawlessly from the getgo. speaking about teams, the JW project is so crazy expensive, perhaps they could spend an additional heap of money and send a crew somehow, should some sh!t hit the fan.

  3. Kevin Morrison says:

    Looking at the legacy field and the hundreds of billions of galaxies which all have hundreds of billions of stars with their solar systems there are still those that knowing this are still convinced and stick by their ignorant claim that we are the only intelligent life in existence! I dont know whats more mind blowing, seeing the amount of galaxies, stars and solar systems that we know of and know there are many, many more we dont, or the pure and utter ignorance of those I mentioned?

  4. kturob says:

    What is the farthest eventually we can go back and see. And once the James Webb Telescope goes up what year technology is on it. Cuz we probably even have better technology that won't be on it and we'll have to wait until the next satellite after that

  5. kturob says:

    It just amazing how many galaxies there are there has to be life somewhere even if it's so far that will never reach it.

  6. hicham mohsen says:

    Dude, Bravo!

  7. kturob says:

    How many different directions of space around Earth has the Hubble searched is there a percentage

  8. Bill Seidel says:

    Ok, maybe a dumb question, if a manned spacecraft were available, would it still be possible to service the HST?

  9. NorthernChev says:

    Have they released an itinerary or list of objects the James Webb telescope will be looking at first? I know they don’t even have a launch date yet, but scientists have to be scrambling to be the first ones to use it. What has been submitted?

  10. Clyde Cessna says:

    Do those galaxies which are so far away and so distant in time still exist?

  11. High Overlord Snarffie Beagle says:

    I had the Legacy Field as my desktop wallpaper before I even saw this video!

  12. Couch Ninja says:

    Talking of pictures, what ever happened to the Juno probe?

  13. Gregg Weber says:

    Let's assume that something crashes into the James Webb, it runs out of fuel, coolant, or a Gyro breaks down. If not tugs to take it to a "garage", or a "mechanic" go & fix it, is current robot technology able to fix it? When will future technology get to that point? Anyone want to buy a used car/telescope?

  14. Biro Spiral says:

    Hey fraser, love the show just had quick question about taking photos in space.
    So I know they use spinning wheels (4 I think) to keep a spacecraft orientated correctly, but if it takes 10 or more days to collect enough photons for a good picture and these reaction wheels are working how are the pictures from hubble not slightly blurred? From tiny vibrations and stuff?
    Also does hubble have to look in certain directions, being that it needs to see the same tiny part of the universe for many days? And being in LEO?
    Ta very much.

  15. James Makoni says:

    "Anytime, any place… Bring it on you aliens!"
    -Paul Phoenix

  16. Shadow Heart says:


  17. Bader Alaraimi says:

    Q: Why the satellites don't freeze in outer space?

  18. Jeff Lee says:

    265,000 galaxies, makes my darwinian head wonder where are our stellar neighbors? i want to meet an alien

  19. ChrisBrengel says:

    250,000 galaxies in one picture. Mind blown.
    Yes, I'm with you.

  20. AKlover says:

    Should have pointed it at Bootes Void. That said seeing these pictures make it seem even more laughable that people think we are alone or even special.

  21. Joe Joe says:

    Not even possible that we’re the only life in the universe. Think about it, 250,000 galaxies in the Hubble Legacy Field picture alone…that’s crazy

  22. Mhd Wael Alrifai says:

    You are awesome man Fraser! I get why stars and plants look different in colors. Why do galaxies have different colors in a single image? It makes sense that each galaxy contains a large number of starts that have diverse compositions, hence all galaxies should look about the same color!

  23. y y says:


  24. Nunya _ says:

    Thanks to my Patreons, I can thank you for thanking your Patreons.

  25. sent4dc says:

    What I think. I think, why is it that you're adding a year to the launch of JWST in every video you make? I'm 25 now. But will I ever see it in my life-time?

  26. yes sir says:

    to think we are alone in the universe is crazy

  27. Ghrey says:

    I still get choked up by these images

  28. Anders Eriksson says:

    Great stuff!! I can't wait until the James Webb is operational either. Who knows what we can see then. Awesome video btw!

  29. Upcycle Electronics says:

    I can't wait on James Webb in 3021

  30. Jerry Rupprecht says:

    3:36 Uh… I think you might’ve made a mistake.

  31. Bart Atwood-Ebi says:

    The legacy field blows my mind. Thank you for bringing my attention to it.

    Since you ask for questions, I have a really dumb one. I'm assuming that you stargaze and in fact this is inspired by your Q&A video where it got dark as you were filming outside. When I was a kid, my family were vacationing in Banff in late June or early July. That night was never really dark. So what do you look at during the short nights of summer?

  32. Hehehehehehehehehe says:

    Time to update my screen background. I'm still using the Hubble ultra deep field cut into a set of smaller segments on slideshow. New resolution for this legacy deep field is 25500×25500 pixels. Going to make a slide show of about 100 images from this.

  33. Gwym says:

    One of humanity's greatest achievements

  34. Maciek K. Cichoń says:

    I really hope Musk, Bezos or NASA would came up with a plan and funding for bringing Hubble back to Earth in one piece. Although Bezos could feel the urge for keeping it hidden in his room, like the Enterprise filming model…

  35. Meredith Scofield says:

    In this and at least one of your other videos that I've watched recently, you say, "13.5 billion light years ago…" This is incorrect, because a "light-year" is a measurement of *distance*, not time. I think you mean "13.5 billion years ago."

    I like and appreciate your videos and passion very much; keep up the great work.

  36. Roman Geber says:

    Are these deep fields exclusive to space based telescopes or do ground based observatories create those as well? Also, what's the most significant scientific vales we've pulled from these images?

  37. gabb barcelon says:

    hi..i just want to ask if they can telescope the two voyagers so they will know where is their exact location ..is it possible to do that?

  38. gabb barcelon says:

    hi.. i just want to ask.. why the big bang theory is still a theory until now and not a fact?..

  39. Dyslexic Artist Theory on the Physics of 'Time' says:

    Great info!!!

  40. colin Paterson says:

    The JWST is moving into the realms of Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.

  41. Ian Stradian says:

    Looking at these photos from the Hubel Telescope…
    If there isn’t at least 1 other intelligent life form in the universe then it’s a unbelievable waist of realestate.

  42. James T says:

    thousands of galaxies, with hundreds of billions of stars each, with many planets orbiting around each, in a tiny patch of sky…and Thanos still thinks we have a shortage of resources!

  43. Orlando Saint-Sebastien says:

    " It's full of stars "

  44. Paul Middleton says:

    So this thing has been hurdling through space for 16 years….never hits ANY space dust. rocks or anything? Sends perfect pictures from billions of miles away, but I cant get cell phone service 10 miles from the tower? This is an amazing lie I mean machine. I mean LIE!!

  45. zebono2 says:

    I know that the space station is built for earth orbit but could we move it and send it to mars orbit

  46. Victory Vijay says:

    I believe there is life thriving in billions of galaxies out there in this vast cosmos.

  47. delve says:

    The mic sounds a bit off in this video. Is it just me?

  48. OldGamerNoob says:

    I assume Hubble has looked in about every direction at one point or another and I am more accustomed to seeing 360 degree images represented in sort of oval shapes like the popular representation of the universe's microwave background radiation but this image seems kinda' square-ish.
    Is this image supposed to be able to be wrapped into a 360 degree sphere or is there some part of the sky that is not included for some reason?

    I'm still watching the video so I'll edit this if needed when I get to the end.

    EDIT: Yeah, question answered … I'm still wondering what a mosaic compilation of all Hubble images ever taken would look like and what, if any, parts of the sky would not be included, though.

  49. jacob yocom says:

    Hey Fraser, I plan to see the falcon heavy on June 22nd launch for my 40th b-day. Never seen a launch before, but the website is not selling tickets. Can I get a good view without tickets?

  50. Curtis says:

    Is that reality a shadow Hubble is casting on the clouds at 0:20?

  51. Paul Middleton says:

    Ok ,but what about it NEVER gettin hit by a dam thing?? Hmmmmmmmm? Looks pretty crowed out there….??

  52. MrT3a92 says:

    Hi Fraser! I just wondered if some of the stars in the sky we can see with our own eyes are actually far away galaxy's

  53. balaurian83 says:

    Hey Fraser, how would a planet made only from liquid water behave? Tnx

  54. Vlad Kostin says:

    Are we so sure big bang happened?

  55. Ben Houghton says:

    265,000 galaxies i wonder how many stars, planets, moons or intelligent life is in that one image

  56. Moyen Mishra says:

    no james webb launch date joke?

  57. RoachKai says:

    It will be cool when the wfirst can do this sort of thing on much larger scales…

  58. James says:

    if theres 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe, then that single picture has mapped 0.000265% of every single galaxy we will ever see! i think

  59. dogfish 33 says:

    I wonder if there are any bookies taking bets as to whether or not the James Webb telescope will actually go up in 2021, because if there are I would gladly put my money on no. It would be one bet I would be alright with losing though.

  60. Sgt. Shill says:

    Almost a 50/50 between the actual story of the new image and one form of advertising or another.. Pretty sad man.. Kinda expected more.. Good luck! Others will start noticing as well.. Just saying.. No hate here just brutal honesty…

  61. Nuno Fernandes says:

    I love your videos, man.

  62. joy west says:

    LoL.. that thing does not even exist! Stop being Conned people.

  63. Lukeamania says:

    My mind can't comprehend the vastness of the universe. I understand the theory of the big bang. But how THAT much "stuff" was created to make hundreds of trillions of galaxies with hundreds of billions to trillions of stars in each one is just mind blowing.

  64. P Square says:

    Question: Everybody agrees that moon formed when an asteroid hit earth or there are other theories?

  65. Michael K says:

    Why is the ISS not used to house space telescopes and Earth observing instruments (e.g. for weather or gravity)? Wouldn’t it have several advantages like existing power, thermal management and communication infrastructure? As well as the ability to carry out updates and repairs.

    Of course for the JWST it’s not possible because it’s at a Lagrange point.

  66. Galactic Cannibl says:

    Still think we’re alone? 👽 👾

  67. manaszk says:

    Something about: https://www.livescience.com/65483-dark-impactor-could-be-dark-matter.html please?

  68. Jeffrey Leclerc says:

    JWST will never fly.

  69. jon williams says:

    legacy is my wallpaper

  70. s ga says:

    I think our universe is a cube sitting on someone’s desk….

  71. stevetager69 says:

    Space is big.

  72. FabledSomething says:

    Why don't we humans just send 50 telescopes in orbit? Who cared what they cost to make, they are needed!

  73. zerocool1ist says:

    Can Hubble see the craters on Uranus?

  74. Samuel says:

    Fraser how can a planet be torn apart if it crosses within the Roche limit of the body it orbits? I know the answer is "tidal forces" BUT if any object is to escape the gravity if the planet its sitting on, it needs to be sped up to the escape velocity of the planet. So how can a rock thats just sitting there just up and fly away?! Also what would a person on the surface of a planet that was getting torn apart by tidal forces see? Love the videos.

  75. locky says:

    No matter where in the universe life on a planet is carbon based, there is no advanced alien technology never has been that's why we never find any, its actually simple to figure out, it all starts with a star which provides the energy to produce life. There is a limit to technology and the distances are just to vast for any life to overcome or make contact.

  76. it's me again says:

    one day we will be "out here" !

  77. Jeep Talk Show says:

    How do galaxys form in 500 million years? I think we're in for another surprise when the James Web gets up there.

  78. TimeLogician says:

    Would an outer Dyson swarm of black holes hide the heat signature of a Dyson swarm?

  79. Vishal Gohil says:

    We are going to the moon 🌒 what is the future for flat earthere ? Lol

  80. TheEnrieb says:

    Question: When James Web is operational what will be the priority order of things it will look at? Is there a list, will it revisit some of hubbles observations?

    Also what are the calibration tests for James Webb and space telescopes ? Are certain stars and galaxies used as standard candles for tests, a bit like how a rifle scope would be calibrated?

  81. Denise Bundy says:


  82. Sky Darmos says:

    We are seeing only 1% of the universe’s past.

  83. Sky Darmos says:

    We live in a very old universe. The CMB is already 4.4883577 * 10^13 years old.

  84. Sky Darmos says:

    Nothing of this is anywhere close to the beginning of time.

  85. J-man72 b says:

    Full Res. 25500×25500 TIFF, 1.19 GB Holy stars BatMan!
    I'm using the 6375×6375 png as my wallpaper. Sweet.

  86. Peter Palumbo says:

    You may have to wait 20 years for the James Webb Deep Field view but it will be worth it. By then other space telescopes will be on line and doing it again.

  87. prafulla gaikwad says:

    will jwst or luvoir wil be the next hubble

  88. Josh, says:

    Fraser, thanks for all your content. I've only recently discovered your channel but it has very quickly ascended into my personal YouTube Science Pantheon.

    I've had a shower thought/stoner thought kicking about in my head for a while now. If baryonic matter and energy we can observe directly make up such a small percentage of the universe, why do we call them "normal" matter and energy? As a science educator do you think it would help stimulate discussion and thought to refer to the majority and leading minority categories of energy and matter as the normal ones due to their significantly larger piece of the pie? Linguistically it feels like calling what we see normal allows us to be complacent, but I don't have nearly as many science-based interactions as you must. What are your thoughts on our current nomenclature?

  89. neil adlington says:

    Have this feeling that those in charge of the Web Telescope have been putting off its launch these many years because they just don't trust the technology to work as designed and that the odds of it working, as it stands now, are probably not very encouraging. In other words, putting off the inevitable while looking for answers that either can't be be found or require going back to the drawing-board and essentially designing a different spacecraft. Don't be surprised if they shelve the whole thing after they ask NASA for further funding to do just that and NASA or the OMB says, no.

  90. William Bays says:

    Does the mass or energy falling into a black-hole ever reach the surface? Because If time slows the closer you get to a black-hole does it ever come to a complete stop and everything is frozen in place? Because if it does wouldn't mass pile up above the stop-point until fusion is triggered and that could look like a pulsing blast coming out from time to time. Or am I over thinking it ?

  91. Alaskan Ballistics says:

    2021 for James Webb? Ma'am I thought it was later this year

  92. Jerry O Connors says:

    Q&A . Do you think we should celebrate Wernher von Braun even do he was a nazi ? .Thanks

  93. Aaron says:

    So many comments saying there must be other intelligent life in the universe. If there is, I assume none can get past a type 1 civilization. They must destroy themselves first, as we are likely to.

  94. Razar Campbell says:

    Honestly, I think Zephram Cochrane is going to develop the 1st warp drive before the JWST gets launched…

  95. BeyondWrittenWords says:

    It's nice. Like a lot of sand on a beach. With Webb we get more sand.

  96. Dee Ski says:

    Who in the world would give this video a thumbs down? My guess is flat Earthers…lol

  97. LightStreak567 says:

    This is a vast ocean. A really vast ocean. We are fish in a fish tank.

  98. Space Cadet Wannabe says:

    It is very cool to think about what we can do with our ever advancing technology 🛰

  99. SoReal's Entropia Universe says:

    Wonderful stuff . Thanks for this 🙂

  100. Bobby Digital says:

    Its really annoying to see this amazing picture and listen to you mention the big bang crazy theory. its like watching an amazing opera singer and someone on the background kicking a can.

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