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Like photographers assembling a portfolio of best shots, astronomers have assembled a
new, improved portrait of mankind's deepest-ever view of the universe. Called the
eXtreme Deep Field, or XDF, the photo was assembled by combining 10 years of NASA
Hubble Space Telescope photographs taken of a patch of sky at the center of the
original Hubble Ultra Deep Field. The XDF is a small fraction of the angular diameter
of the full Moon. The Hubble Ultra Deep Field is an image of a small area of space in
the constellation Fornax, created using Hubble Space Telescope data from 2003 and 2004.
By collecting faint light over many hours of observation, it revealed thousands of
galaxies, both nearby and very distant, making it the deepest image of the universe ever
taken at that time. The new full-color XDF image reaches much fainter galaxies and
includes very deep exposures in red light from Hubble's new infrared camera, enabling new
studies of the earliest galaxies in the universe. The XDF contains about 5,500 galaxies
even within its smaller field of view. The faintest galaxies are one ten-billionth the
brightness of what the human eye can see.