Hubble Space Telescope captured an image called the Ultra-Deep Field. It represents the deepest place seen through an optical telescope.

In 2003, for almost 12 days, the Hubble Space Telescope looked at a tiny square in the constellation of Fornax. So, it became the sharpest, most sensitively recorded region of the sky. Thus, revealing nearly 10,000 galaxies, with some of them more than 13 billion light-years from Earth.

Now, the Very Large Telescope in Chile has taken the picture one step further. It has taken the deepest spectroscopic view of space ever.

Roland Bacon of the Centre de recherche astrophysique de Lyon (CNRS/Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1/ENS de Lyon), France, led the MUSE HUDF Survey team. They used MUSE (Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer) to observe the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, a well-studied part of the sky.

The Multi Unit Spectroscopic Explorer

Now, MUSE on the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile has taken a new look at the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Thus, looking deeper than Hubble and revealing 72 new galaxies known as Lyman-alpha. It also measured the distances and properties of 1,600 very faint galaxies.

MUSE scatters the light into its component colors, hence, these objects become apparent.

“MUSE has the unique ability to extract information about some of the earliest galaxies in the Universe — even in a part of the sky that is already very well studied,” said Jarle Brinchmann lead author of the study published on the ESO (European Southern Observatory) website

We learn things about these galaxies that is only possible with spectroscopy, such as chemical content and internal motions — not galaxy by galaxy but all at once for all the galaxies,” he continued.

Brinchmann is an astronomer at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences at CAUP in Porto, Portugal.

However, the new data contains the deepest spectroscopic observations ever made. Spectroscopy analyzes an object’s light. Thus, allowing astronomers to conclude the physical properties of that object, such as mass, luminosity, temperature, composition and even velocity.

Astronomers also made another major discovery. They detected luminous hydrogen halos around galaxies in the early Universe. So, this will help them study how material flows in and out of early galaxies.

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Thumbnail Image: The Hubble Ultra Deep Field region, as observed with the MUSE instrument installed at the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory in northern Chile. Credit: ESO/ MUSE HUDF collaboration