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Hubble captures a galactic menagerie

Image: Hubble Captures a Galactic Menagerie

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, H. Ebeling; Credit: L. Shatz

NASA/ESA’s Hubble Space Telescope captured this massive galaxy cluster, called Abell 1351, with its Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. Abell 1351 is located in the constellation Ursa Major in the Northern Hemisphere.

This image is filled with streaks of light that are actually the images of distant galaxies. The streaks are the result of gravitational lensing, an astrophysical phenomenon that occurs when a massive celestial body such as a cluster of galaxies distorts spacetime strongly enough to affect the path of light passing through it, almost as if the light were passing through a giant lens. Gravity lenses come in two varieties — strong and weak — and both can help astronomers determine the distribution of mass within a lens galaxy cluster such as Abell 1351.

This sighting is part of an astronomical album of snapshots of some of the most massive galaxy clusters. This menagerie of massive clusters shows interesting astrophysical phenomena such as strong gravitational lensing, as well as spectacular examples of violent galaxy evolution. To obtain this astronomical album, astronomers proposed a Snapshot Program.

Snapshot programs are lists of individual, relatively short exposures placed in gaps between longer Hubble observations. With a large pool of Snapshot candidates to dive into, Hubble can use every second of its possible observation time, maximizing the observatory’s scientific output.

Image: Hubble views a distant galaxy through a cosmic lens

Provided by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Quote: Image: Hubble Captures a Galactic Menagerie (2022, June 25) retrieved June 25, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-image-hubble-captures-galactic-menagerie.html

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