Hubble Sees the Universe in a New Light
News story originally written on October 9, 1998

Scientists have used a new instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope to see farther into space then they ever have before. The Near Infrared Camera and Multi-Object Spectrometer (NICMOS) can see galaxies that could be over 12 billion light-years away!

One of Hubble's objectives is to search for the farthest and faintest objects in space. Before now, the Hubble Deep Field taken by the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 (WFPC2) was the farthest anyone had seen.

The WFPC2 takes pictures using visible light. Objects that are really far away won't show up very well in visible light because most of the light has been red-shifted. It then becomes infrared light, which can be seen by the NICMOS. You can see the relation between visible and infrared in the electromagnetic spectrum.

NASA plans to launch the Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) in 2007. It will be able to take clearer infrared pictures and hopefully be able to confirm the distances to far away objects.

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