This is a simulated image of how the universe will look through the eyes of a brand new camera for NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) will offer deeper, wider and faster views of the heavens than the current generation of cameras on Hubble.
For comparison, these simulated images show a distant, massive cluster of galaxies as seen by Hubble's current imaging camera, the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2), and by the ACS's Wide Field Camera. The cluster is "observed" by the two instruments for the same length of time and through the same color filters. The striking differences in appearance reflect differing camera sensitivities, resolution, and fields of view. The ACS image reveals a wealth of detail not seen with WFPC2, including several faint arc-like features that result from the massive cluster gravitationally "lensing" the light of much more distant background galaxies. The combination of ACS's improved sensitivity and larger field of view is expected to produce a tenfold improvement in discovery efficiency for Hubble.
Science and Illustration Credit: NASA and the ACS Science Team