This is a new picture taken by the Hubble Telescope that shows us the universe in more detail than we’ve ever seen it. It’s a 14-hour exposure that shows objects at various stages and distances in cosmic history — showing tiny objects that would appear a billion times fainter if looked upon with our weak human eyes.
Most of the space things you see in this picture are about five billion light-years away from where you stand right now. Although some are a bit closer and others are a lot further away. Per the ESA:
Studies of this region of the sky have shown that many of the objects that appear to lie close together may actually be billions of light-years apart. This is because several groups of galaxies lie along our line of sight, creating something of an optical illusion. Hubble’s cross-section of the Universe is completed by distorted images of galaxies in the very distant background. These objects are sometimes distorted due to a process called gravitational lensing, an extremely valuable technique in astronomy for studying very distant objects. This lensing is caused by the bending of the space-time continuum by massive galaxies lying close to our line of sight to distant objects.
The lesson here is sort of the same sentiment you see printed on the side mirrors of your car: some objects may be closer than they appear. Check out the entire shot below. [ESA]