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A wide diversity of galaxies can be seen throughout this Hubble image. Some are beautiful spirals or massive elliptical galaxies like those seen in the nearby universe, but others look like random assemblages of material, the leftovers from violent mergers of young galaxies. These resemble some of the most distant, youngest galaxies observed.
The Hubble observation, made with the Advanced Camera for Surveys, is part of the All-wavelength Extended Groth Strip International Survey, a collaborative effort using major ground-based and space-based telescopes to focus on a narrow swath of sky near the Big Dipper. The region offers a clear view of the distant universe. The full region is 1.1 by 0.15 degrees
Astronomers studying the Groth Strip find that star formation is largely driven by the supply of raw materials, such as gas and dust, collapsing under the force of gravity. More massive galaxies form stars early, whereas the smaller galaxies create their stars over longer timescales. Both normal-looking, undisturbed galaxies and those showing signs of catastrophic collisions were forming an abundance of stars 8 billion years ago. This evidence suggests that violent galaxy mergers were not required for rapid star formation.