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News Release 544 of 1051

June 2, 2004 09:00 AM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2004-49

Hubble Takes Faintest Spectroscopic Survey of Distant Galaxies

A News Nugget Release

June 2, 2004: Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope have measured accurate distances to several faint, red galaxies seen in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field, confirming that three fourths are among the most distant galaxies yet studied. This is a milestone because the Hubble data provide spectra of objects 10 times fainter than have been studied with spectrometers on ground-based telescopes. This allows researchers to probe the common galaxies in the early universe, which are believed to be responsible for most of the energy output at that time, and perhaps also for ionizing and heating the tenuous gas in between galaxies. Surprisingly, the distant galaxies are similar in many ways to their considerably closer descendants.

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Credit: NASA and Grism ACS Program for Extragalactic Science (STScI)