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Hubble Ultra-Deep Field

Coordinates: 3h 32m 39.0s, −27° 47′ 29.1″XDF size compared with the size of the MoonHXDF image shows mature galaxies in the foreground plane, nearly mature galaxies from 5 to 9 billion years ago, and protogalaxies beyond 9 billion years.Video (02:42) about how the Hubble eXtreme Deep Field image was made. Coordinates: 3h 32m 39.0s, −27° 47′ 29.1″ The Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF) is an image of a small region of space in the constellation Fornax, containing an estimated 10,000 galaxies. The original release was combined from Hubble Space Telescope data accumulated over a period from September 24, 2003, through to January 16, 2004. Looking back approximately 13 billion years (between 400 and 800 million years after the Big Bang) it has been used to search for galaxies that existed at that time. The HUDF image was taken in a section of the sky with a low density of bright stars in the near-field, allowing much better viewing of dimmer, more distant objects. In August and September 2009, the HUDF field was observed at longer wavelengths (1.0 to 1.6 µm) using the infrared channel of the recently attached Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) instrument. When combined with existing HUDF data, astronomers were able to identify a new list of potentially very distant galaxies. Located southwest of Orion in the southern-hemisphere constellation Fornax, the rectangular image is 2.4 arcminutes to an edge, or 3.4 arcminutes diagonally. This is approximately one tenth of the angular diameter of a full moon viewed from Earth (which is less than 34 arcminutes), smaller than 1 sq. mm piece of paper held at 1 meter away, and equal to roughly one twenty-six-millionth of the total area of the sky. The image is oriented so that the upper left corner points toward north (−46.4°) on the celestial sphere. On September 25, 2012, NASA released a further refined version of the Ultra-Deep Field dubbed the eXtreme Deep Field (XDF). The XDF reveals galaxies that span back 13.2 billion years in time, revealing a galaxy theorized to be formed only 450 million years after the big bang event. On June 3, 2014, NASA released the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field image composed of, for the first time, the full range of ultraviolet to near-infrared light. On January 23, 2019, the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias released an even deeper version of the infrared images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field obtained with the WFC3 instrument, named the ABYSS Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The new images improve the previous reduction of the WFC3/IR images, including careful sky background subtraction around the largest galaxies on the field of view. After this update, some galaxies were found to be almost twice as big as previously measured. In the years since the original Hubble Deep Field, the Hubble Deep Field South and the GOODS sample were analyzed, providing increased statistics at the high redshifts probed by the HDF. When the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) detector was installed on the HST, it was realized that an ultra-deep field could observe galaxy formation out to even higher redshifts than had currently been observed, as well as providing more information about galaxy formation at intermediate redshifts (z~2). A workshop on how to best carry out surveys with the ACS was held at STScI in late 2002. At the workshop Massimo Stiavelli advocated an Ultra Deep Field as a way to study the objects responsible for the reionization of the Universe. Following the workshop, the STScI Director Steven Beckwith decided to devote 400 orbits of Director's Discretionary time to the UDF and appointed Stiavelli as the lead of the Home Team implementing the observations. Unlike the Deep Fields, the HUDF does not lie in Hubble's Continuous Viewing Zone (CVZ). The earlier observations, using the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) camera, were able to take advantage of the increased observing time on these zones by using wavelengths with higher noise to observe at times when earthshine contaminated the observations; however ACS does not observe at these wavelengths, so the advantage was reduced. As with the earlier fields, this one was required to contain very little emission from our galaxy, with little Zodiacal dust. The field was also required to be in a range of declinations such that it could be observed both by southern hemisphere instruments, such as the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, and northern hemisphere ones, such as those located on Hawaii. It was ultimately decided to observe a section of the Chandra Deep Field South, due to existing deep X-ray observations from Chandra X-ray Observatory and two interesting objects already observed in the GOODS sample at the same location: a redshift 5.8 galaxy and a supernova. The coordinates of the field are right ascension  3h 32m 39.0s, declination −27° 47′ 29.1″ (J2000). The field is 200 arcseconds to a side, with a total area of 11 square arcminutes, and lies in the constellation of Fornax. Four filters were used on the ACS, centered on 435, 606, 775 and 850 nm, with exposure times set to give equal sensitivity in all filters. These wavelength ranges match those used by the GOODS sample, allowing direct comparison between the two. As with the Deep Fields, the HUDF used Directors Discretionary Time. In order to get the best resolution possible, the observations were dithered by pointing the telescope at slightly different positions for each exposure—a process trialled with the Hubble Deep Field—so that the final image has a higher resolution than the pixels on their own would normally allow.

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