Hubble sees ghost light from dead galaxies in galaxy cluster Abell 2744

The massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744, nicknamed Pandora's Cluster, takes on a ghostly look in this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope view.

In this image the total starlight from the cluster has been artificially coloured blue. This reveals that not all the starlight is contained within the cities of stars — the galaxies — which appear as bright blue-white blobs. A fraction of the starlight is also dispersed throughout the cluster, as seen in the darker blue regions.

This light comes from dead galaxies. The galaxies were torn apart long ago by the cluster's gravitational forces, and their stars were scattered into what is known as intracluster space — the space between the galaxies.

These orphaned stars roam the cluster, without being gravitationally tethered to any single galaxy. Because these extremely faint stars are brightest at near-infrared wavelengths of light, this type of observation could only be accomplished with Hubble’s infrared sensitivity to extraordinarily dim light.

The galaxies that are not coloured blue are either in the foreground or background and are not part of the cluster.

Links:

Credit:

NASA, ESA, M. Montes (IAC), and J. Lotz, M. Mountain, A. Koekemoer, and the HFF Team (STScI)

About the Image

NASA press release
NASA caption
Id:opo1443a
Type:Observation
Release date:31 October 2014, 15:42
Size:2665 x 3143 px

About the Object

Name:Abell 2744
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Type : Gravitationally Lensed
Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Early Universe : Cosmology : Phenomenon : Lensing
Distance:4 billion light years
Constellation:Sculptor
Category:Cosmology
Galaxies

Image Formats

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4.1 MB
Screensize JPEG
382.0 KB

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Coordinates

Position (RA):0 14 21.11
Position (Dec):-30° 23' 59.12"
Field of view:1.33 x 1.57 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 0.0° left of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
B
435 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
Y
1.05 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
JH
1.4 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
J
1.25 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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