Whenever astronomers talk about taking a census, I imagine astronauts being sent out to knock on galaxy doors, "Hello! How many baby stars do you have now?" The image above is a 3D projection of the most recent census of "unseen galaxies" in the distant universe. An international group of astronomers used the Keck telescopes in Hawaii to gaze back and find them in infrared.
These galaxies glow so brightly at infrared wavelengths that they would outshine our own Milky Way by hundreds, maybe thousands, of times. They are forming stars so quickly that between 100 and 500 new stars are born in each galaxy every year, and have been coined "starbusts" by astronomers.
The image shows the distribution of galaxies going farther back in time, in billions of years. After finding them in infrared and knowing where to point their telescope, the astronomers sought them out in visible wavelengths. They've imaged nearly 800 so far, filling in gaps that should help scientists learn more about the evolution of the universe.
Image: ESA-C. Carreau