This is a NASA visualization that traverses the CANDELS Ultra Deep Survey (UDS) field to showcase the varied appearances of galaxies and their three-dimensional distribution. The sequence features a dense cluster of galaxies about 6 billion light-years away and extends to galaxies at more than twice that distance.


The images show the galaxies as they appeared billions of years ago. The expansion of space has redshifted the light of these galaxies toward longer wavelengths and the changes seen in galaxies during the fly-through illustrate the changes in galaxy structure and appearance over billions of years of cosmic history.

CANDELS is an acronym for the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey project. One of the largest projects ever done with the Hubble Space Telescope, CANDELS surveyed five fields to study the development of galaxies over time.

The CANDELS observations of the UDS field complement ground-based observations from the United Kingdom Infrared Telescope. Astronomers and visual artists extracted over 26,000 galaxies from the Hubble UDS images and created a computer model based on the measured and estimated properties. Note that the distances used in the visualization are significantly compressed for cinematic purposes.

Credits: NASA, ESA, F. Summers, J. DePasquale, G. Bacon, and Z. Levay (STScI) Acknowledgement: H. Ferguson, A. Koekemoer, and the CANDELS Team Music: “Rotisserie Graveyard” by Doctor Turtle CC BY 4.0