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The Hubble Space Telescope Captures An Amazing Photo of Galaxy Clusters Colliding

by onMarch 27, 2016
 

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Has Recently Captured An Image of Two Galaxy Clusters Colliding Into A Single One

The colorful foggy spot in this photo captured by the Hubble Space telescope is actually the site of two large clusters of galaxies colliding into one. This new cluster is known as MACS J0416.

The image below actually consists of three separate images captured by three separate telescopes. ‘The Hubble Space Telescope’, the ‘Chandra X-ray Observatory’ and the ‘NRAO Jansky Very Large Array.’ Combined they give astronomers a fully detailed view of the cosmos

NASA's Hubble Telescope Captures Galaxy Clusters Colliding

(Image: NASA)

Perhaps even more interesting is that this galaxy cluster, and others like it, are so massive and contain such a large amount of dark matter that they pull light toward them, warping it into a sort of magnifying glass. This bending of light allows astronomers to see galaxies that are extremely far away and close to to only 100 millions years older than the Big Bang.

MACS J1206 Galaxy Cluster Warping Light

(Image: NASA) Similar Cluster: MACS J1206

The majority of the universe is made up of dark matter. Astronomers struggle detecting and studying it because the only way to detect dark matter is by observing how it manipulates visible matter/light. Like distance galaxies for instance.

Galaxy clusters like MACS J0416 and others provide a way of studying dark matter on a massive scale as it pulls and manipulates light from distant galaxies, the largest things in the cosmos. Their weight causes gravitational lensing, essentially making them a giant magnifying glass. This has allowed astronomers to not only “look back in time” by seeing galaxies so far we other wise wouldn’t see them (as we said before), but it allows them to also better understand how dark matter effects us and the rest of the cosmos.

References: Frontier FieldsNASA – NASA 2

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