Cosmic snake pregnant with stars

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the Cosmic Snake, a distant galaxy peppered with clumpy regions of intense star formation that appear warped by the effect of gravitational lensing. This giant arc-like galaxy is actually behind the huge galaxy cluster MACSJ1206.2-0847, but thanks to the cluster’s gravity, we can see it from Earth.

Light from the distant, high-redshift galaxy arrives at Earth, having been distorted by the gigantic gravitational influence of the intervening cluster. Fascinatingly, instead of making it more difficult to perceive cosmological objects, such strong lensing effects improve the resolution and depth of an image by magnifying the background object. Sometimes gravitational lensing can even produce multiple images of the object as light is bent in different directions around the foreground cluster.

Using Hubble, astronomers recently looked at several such images of the Cosmic Snake, each with a different level of magnification. Using this technique, the galaxy and its features could be studied on different scales. The highest-resolution images revealed that giant clumps in high-redshift galaxies are made up of a complex substructure of smaller clumps, which contributes to our understanding of star formation in distant galaxies.

Link:

Credit:

ESA/Hubble, NASA

About the Image

Id:potw1747a
Type:Observation
Release date:20 November 2017, 06:00
Size:1115 x 848 px

About the Object

Name:Cosmic Snake Galaxy, MACSJ1206.2-0847
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Type : Gravitationally Lensed
Early Universe : Galaxy : Size : Giant
Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Early Universe : Cosmology : Phenomenon : Lensing
Constellation:Virgo
Category:Cosmology
Galaxies

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Coordinates

Position (RA):12 6 11.07
Position (Dec):-8° 48' 2.60"
Field of view:0.56 x 0.42 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 5.8° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
G
475 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
B
435 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
u
390 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
r
625 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
z
850 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
i
775 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
J/H
1.4 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
J
1.25 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
J
1.1 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
Z
1.05 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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