Researchers working with images from the Hubble Space Telescope recently extended their view billions of miles into deep space-and billions of years into the past. Using the Advanced Camera Survey that was installed on Hubble in 2002, the researchers peered at an area called the Ultra Deep Field. They found more than 500 galaxies that were actively forming their stars almost 13 billion years ago.

“This represents the Hubble Space Telescope staring at one little patch of sky for about a month,” says Washington State University astronomer John Blakeslee. He was a member of the team that processed Hubble’s raw images and analyzed the resulting pictures. The most distant galaxies ever observed, they are providing scientists their closest look yet at how galaxies formed early in the history of the universe.

For more information on this and other Hubble-related research, click here (NASA’s Hubble Website) or here (the Space Telescope Science Institute’s Hubble site).