Lensing cluster Abell 383

The giant cluster of elliptical galaxies in the centre of this image contains so much dark matter mass that its gravity bends light. This means that for very distant galaxies in the background, the cluster’s gravitational field acts as a sort of magnifying glass, bending and concentrating the distant object’s light towards Hubble. These gravitational lenses are one tool astronomers can use to extend Hubble’s vision beyond what it would normally be capable of observing.

Using Abell 383, a team of astronomers have identified and studied a galaxy so far away we see it as it was less than a billion years after the Big Bang. Viewing this galaxy through the gravitational lens meant that the scientists were able to discern many intriguing features that would otherwise have remained hidden, including that its stars were unexpectedly old for a galaxy this close in time to the beginning of the Universe. This has profound implications for our understanding of how and when the first galaxies formed, and how the diffuse fog of neutral hydrogen that filled the early Universe was cleared.

Credit:

NASA, ESA, J. Richard (CRAL) and J.-P. Kneib (LAM). Acknowledgement: Marc Postman (STScI)

About the Image

NASA caption
Id:heic1106a
Type:Observation
Release date:12 April 2011, 15:00
Related releases:heic1106
Size:2417 x 2380 px

About the Object

Name:Abell 383
Type:• Early Universe : Galaxy : Type : Gravitationally Lensed
• Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
• X - Cosmology Images/Videos
Distance:z=0.187 (redshift)

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Infrared
Near-IR
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
R
775 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
Z
850 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
Near-IR
1.1 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
Near-IR
1.25 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
Near-IR
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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