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News Release Archive:

News Release 733 of 955

December 17, 1996 12:00 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-1996-37

Hubble Census Tracks a Stellar "Baby Boom"

December 17, 1996: Analyzing the pictures of some of the most distant galaxies in the universe, astronomers are uncovering intriguing new evidence that the Big Bang was followed by a stellar "baby boom."

Hubble's unprecedented measurement of the rate of star birth in remote galaxies, which existed when the cosmos was less than 10 percent its current age, supports the emerging view that the early universe had an active, dynamic youth where stars formed out of dust and gas at a ferocious rate. The graph is based on observations of distant galaxies made by the Hubble telescope and ground-based observatories. Hubble shows a steep rise in star birth that happened shortly after the Big Bang. The ground-based data show a precipitous decline in the star formation rate, beginning about 9 billion years ago and continuing to the present.

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Credit: P. Madau (STScI) and NASA