Today’s guest post is by Hubble Space Telescope astrophysicist Dr. Jennifer Lotz.
How deep can we go? What is the faintest – and possibly most distant – galaxy we can see now with the Hubble Space Telescope? This is the challenge taken up by the Frontier Fields, a new campaign to see deeper into the universe than ever before.
It is thrilling to push past the limits of our knowledge of the universe. But the Frontier Fields are motivated by more than record-breaking. With a great deal of effort, Hubble is starting to capture light from galaxies that shows them as they appeared in the first few hundred million years of the universe. Sometime between the Big Bang — more than 13 billion years ago – and today, the Universe evolved from a hot, smooth sea of protons, electrons, and dark matter to a collection of billions of individual galaxies separated from each other by vast regions of mostly empty space. Within our own Milky Way galaxy are billions of stars forming out of clouds of gas, with planets surrounding almost every star. How did these “billions upon billions” come to be?
Because the speed of light is finite, astronomy ...