This image was taken May 21 and 22 by NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer. The image was made from data gathered by the two channels of the spacecraft camera during the mission's "first light" milestone. It shows about 50 celestial objects in the constellation Hercules. The reddish objects represent those detected by the camera's near ultraviolet channel over a 5-minute period, while bluish objects were detected over a 3-minute period by the camera's far ultraviolet channel. Deeper imaging may confirm the apparent existence in this field of galaxy pairs and triplets or individual star formation regions in single galaxies.
The Galaxy Evolution Explorer's first light images are dedicated to the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. The Hercules region was directly above Columbia when it made its last contact with NASA Mission Control on February 1, over the skies of Texas.
The Galaxy Evolution Explorer launched on April 28 on a mission to map the celestial sky in the ultraviolet and determine the history of star formation in the universe over the last 10 billion years.