Ladies and gentleman, you are looking at the most detailed image of the universe ever captured.
NASA has just released this image, called the Extreme Deep Field (XDF). It was created from 10 years of photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and shows some of the oldest galaxies ever observed -- some going back 13.2 billion years in time.
According to NASA, the image contains about 5,500 galaxies -- both nearby and very distant. The faintest galaxies are one ten-billionth the brightness of what the human eye can see.
The Hubble Ultra Deep Field image is only of a small area of space in the constellation Fornax.
To create this inspiring image, NASA's Hubble pointed at a tiny patch of southern sky over and over again for the past decade, with a total exposure time of 2 million seconds.
More than 2,000 images of the same field were taken with Hubble's two premier cameras: the Advanced Camera for Surveys and the Wide Field Camera 3, which extends Hubble's vision into near-infrared light.
Magnificent spiral galaxies similar in shape to our Milky Way and the neighboring Andromeda galaxy appear in this image, as do the large, fuzzy red galaxies where the formation of new stars has ceased.
When you stare at an image like this, it seems almost impossible to imagine that we are alone in this universe.
What do you think? Click here to see the high-resolution version of this image to really have your mind blown.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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