Distant Galaxy in GOODS-North
The core of an emerging galaxy is ablaze with newly formed stars in this never-before-seen view of the early construction phase of an elliptical galaxy. Astronomers spotted the glowing core in this Hubble Space Telescope image from the Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS). The arrow in the enlarged inset image points to the growing galaxy's bright, compact core. The galaxy is seen as it appeared 11 billion years ago, just 3 billion years after the Big Bang.
Although only a fraction of the size of the Milky Way, the tiny powerhouse galaxy already contains about twice as many stars as our galaxy, all crammed into a region only 6,000 light-years across. The Milky Way is about 100,000 light-years across. Astronomers think the newly formed galaxy will continue to grow, possibly becoming similar to the giant elliptical galaxies seen today. This barely visible galaxy may be representative of a much larger population of similar objects that are obscured by dust.
The image combines observations taken in near-infrared light with the Wide Field Camera 3 and exposures made in visible light with the Advanced Camera for Surveys.