Nav: Home

Making the Hubble's deepest images even deeper

January 24, 2019

To produce the deepest image of the Universe from space a group of researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) led by Alejandro S. Borlaff used original images from the Hubble Space Telescope (HST taken over a region in the sky called the Hubble Ultra-Deep Field (HUDF). After improving the process of combining several images the group was able to recover a large quantity of light from the outer zones of the largest galaxies in the HUDF. Recovering this light, emitted by the stars in these outer zones, was equivalent to recovering the light from a complete galaxy ("smeared out" over the whole field) and for some galaxies this missing light shows that they have diameters almost twice as big as previously measured.

The HUDF is the result of combining hundreds of images taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) of the HST during over 230 hours of observation which, in 2012, yielded the deepest image of the Universe taken until then. But the method of combining the individual images was not ideally suited to detect faint extended objects. To do this, Borlaff explains "What we have done is to go back to the archive of the original images, directly as observed by the HST, and improve the process of combination, aiming at the best image quality not only for the more distant smaller galaxies but also for the extended regions of the largest galaxies.

The WFC3 with which the data were taken was installed by astronauts in May 2009, when the Hubble had already been in space for 19 years. This was a major challenge for the researchers because the complete instrument (telescope+ camera) could not be tested on the ground, which made calibration more difficult. To overcome the problems they analysed several thousand images of different regions on the sky, with the aim of improving the calibration of the telescope on orbit.

The image of the universe which is now the deepest "has been possible thanks to a striking improvement in the techniques of image processing which has been achieved in recent years, a field in which the group working in the IAC is at the forefront", says Borlaff.
-end-
All the data will be accessible to the scientific community on the website: http://www.iac.es/proyecto/abyss/

Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)

Related Universe Articles:

T2K insight into the origin of the universe
Lancaster physicists working on the T2K major international experiment in Japan are closing in on the mystery of why there is so much matter in the universe, and so little antimatter.
This is how a 'fuzzy' universe may have looked
Scientists at MIT, Princeton University, and Cambridge University have found that the early universe, and the very first galaxies, would have looked very different depending on the nature of dark matter.
And then there was light: looking for the first stars in the Universe
Astronomers are closing in on a signal that has been travelling across the Universe for 12 billion years, bringing them nearer to understanding the life and death of the very earliest stars.
AI learns to model our Universe
An international team has used AI to create a 3D simulation of the Universe.
New voyage to the universe from DESHIMA
Researchers in Japan and the Netherlands jointly developed an originative radio receiver DESHIMA (Deep Spectroscopic High-redshift Mapper) and successfully obtained the first spectra and images with it.
A peek at the birth of the universe
The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is set to become the largest radio telescope on Earth.
Exactly how fast is the universe expanding?
The collision of two neutron stars (GW170817) flung out an extraordinary fireball of material and energy that is allowing a Princeton-led team of astrophysicists to calculate a more precise value for the Hubble constant, the speed of the universe's expansion.
How heavy elements come about in the universe
Heavy elements are produced during stellar explosion or on the surfaces of neutron stars through the capture of hydrogen nuclei (protons).
The 'stuff' of the universe keeps changing
The composition of the universe--the elements that are the building blocks for every bit of matter -- is ever-changing and ever-evolving, thanks to the lives and deaths of stars.
A universe aglow
Deep observations made with the MUSE spectrograph on ESO's Very Large Telescope have uncovered vast cosmic reservoirs of atomic hydrogen surrounding distant galaxies.
More Universe News and Universe Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Climate Mindset
In the past few months, human beings have come together to fight a global threat. This hour, TED speakers explore how our response can be the catalyst to fight another global crisis: climate change. Guests include political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac, diplomat Christiana Figueres, climate justice activist Xiye Bastida, and writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Speedy Beet
There are few musical moments more well-worn than the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. But in this short, we find out that Beethoven might have made a last-ditch effort to keep his music from ever feeling familiar, to keep pushing his listeners to a kind of psychological limit. Big thanks to our Brooklyn Philharmonic musicians: Deborah Buck and Suzy Perelman on violin, Arash Amini on cello, and Ah Ling Neu on viola. And check out The First Four Notes, Matthew Guerrieri's book on Beethoven's Fifth. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.