The Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey (GOODS) project unites the world’s most advanced observatories, including the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, to make extremely deep observations of the distant Universe, across the electromagnetic spectrum. GOODS gives us a unique view of the formation and evolution of galaxies across cosmic time, by observing two deep fields in the sky. Astronomers used data from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys to pinpoint target galaxies for further investigation by other telescopes, including ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT). In turn, spectrographs on the VLT captured the spectra of these galaxies, spreading out the colours of their light like a rainbow. This let them measure the redshift of their light, and hence how distant they are. An extensive campaign produced redshifts for almost 3000 galaxies. With this knowledge, we can place the galaxies at distances along a vast cone of space, as shown in this visualisation, stretching out from our own vantage point like a searchlight beam into deep space. We can take an amazing journey through a tunnel towards the edge of the Universe. In some places, the galaxies cluster together, forming structures which are up to tens of millions of light years in scale.
ESO/L. Calçada/ESO-GOODS team