Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2003 June 25
See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.

Galaxies in the GOODS
Credit: NASA, ESA, GOODS Team, M. Giavalisco (STScI)

Explanation: This tantalizing view of galaxies scattered near and far is part of the Hubble Space Telescope's contribution to the GOODS - the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey project. The GOODS' goal is to study galaxy formation and evolution over an unprecedent wide range of cosmic distances, therefore spanning time from the present to the early Universe. Joined by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and soon by the anticipated Space Infrared Telescope Facility along with major ground-based observatories, the project expands greatly on the past Hubble Deep Fields of regions in the northern constellation of Ursa Major and southern constellation Tucana. Across the electromagnetic spectrum, a sample of large nearby galaxies, like the interacting pair at the lower left above, will be compared with distant younger galaxies in a search for clues to the origins of these lighthouses of the cosmos. Preliminary results of the project confirm that the birth rate of stars was higher in the past and that galaxies have indeed been constructed from the "bottom up", growing from mergers and accretion of small infant galaxies to their present day forms.

Tomorrow's picture: another world's sky

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