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The Hubble Ultra Deep Field Image

Updated on February 3, 2012

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field is an image of a small region of space taken by the Hubble Space Telescope between 24th September 2003 and 16th January 2004. The image required 800 exposures taken over the course of 400 Hubble orbits around the Earth with a total exposure time of 11.3 days.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field
The Hubble Ultra Deep Field

So, what's so remarkable about this particular photo? We have all seen pictures of stars, and galaxies, and nebulas before. What we see is just a background of black, with some spots of light and a dash of colour.

Well, the area of the sky that this image was taken from is largely empty. So, every single point of light that you see is a galaxy. And a galaxy is many, many millions of stars, just like our sun. And remember that that is just one point of light.

And there are many points of lights in the image, Although you can't see it in the image, the actual image has nearly 10,000 galaxies. I don't even want to try to write down in numbers how many stars that is. It is an extremely big number.

I know of one author who calls this image the "single most important picture ever taken by humanity".


Some people see God in the picture. The picture really captures the sheer size and complexity of the universe of which we are a part. And something of such scale and grandeur just goes to show that there has to be a grand design - it is just inconceivable that it can come about by chance.

Some people see the picture as proof that we are not alone in the universe. With the universe being so big, somewhere, somehow, sometime, sentient life must have come about. It would be rather arrogant to think that in all of this space, we are the only one that have happened.

For me, it puts things perspective. Things that were significant to me, like a quarrel with a friend, or work issues, just melts into nothing. In my life, there is a bigger picture that I am working for, and the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image reminds me of what's important.

Too often we are distracted by life's little irritations, allowing ourselves to be carried away by our pride. And if we are not careful, we can spend our whole lives being carried away.

Read what you will from the image but you cannot help but be inspired by it. I would look at it as a picture of the future of humanity.

And, one last thing.

The image is from an area of the sky one tenth the size of the full moon. The next time you see a full moon, imagine an area one tenth the size of the moon, and fit the 10,000 galaxies in the Hubble image into that tiny area.

And then gaze at the night sky and imagine how many more galaxies there really are.


To view the Hubble Ultra Deep Field image at the highest resolution, click here.

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field In 3D


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    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 9 years ago from Singapore

      I first saw that image a few years ago. It was just some smudges of light against a dark night sky. But there were so many smudges, and each one was not just a star, but a whole galaxy. It made an impression on me.

      Thanks for visiting. :)

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 9 years ago from United States

      How very interesting, your hub certainly made me think differently when I look up at night.

    • wandererh profile image

      David Lim 9 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks for the commant, Feroz. :)

    • profile image

      Feroz Khan Hamid 9 years ago

      This post is really helpful. I heard of this news, but had no time to read it. Glad I read it now. Also, i read some other of your posts and they are quiet useful. Keep posting.