The blue arcs in the picture are distant galaxies as they appeared 12 billion years ago - not long after the Big Bang.

The hidden objects are revealed through the "magnifying lens" of the cluster Abell 2744.

The image was unveiled at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) in Washington DC.

It is the first in a set of super-deep views of the Universe taken by Hubble's Frontier Fields observing programme, and published on the Arxiv preprint server.

Funhouse mirror

In the foreground are the colourful spirals and elliptical galaxies of Abell 2744, a massive cluster in the constellation Sculptor.

It is nicknamed Pandora for its strange and violent formation history, which unleashed many new phenomena to astronomers.