Streaks and stripes

This picturesque view from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope peers into the distant Universe to reveal a galaxy cluster called Abell 2537.

Galaxy clusters such as this one contain thousands of galaxies of all ages, shapes and sizes, together totalling a mass thousands of times greater than that of the Milky Way. These groupings of galaxies are colossal — they are the largest structures in the Universe to be held together by their own gravity.

Clusters are useful in probing mysterious cosmic phenomena like dark matter and dark energy, the latter of which is thought to define the geometry of the entire Universe. There is so much matter stuffed into a cluster like Abell 2537 that its gravity has visible effects on its surroundings. Abell 2537’s gravity warps the very structure of its environment (spacetime), causing light to travel along distorted paths through space. This phenomenon can produce a magnifying effect, allowing us to see objects that lie behind the cluster and are thus otherwise unobservable from Earth. Abell 2537 is a particularly efficient lens, as demonstrated by the stretched stripes and streaking arcs visible in the frame. These smeared shapes are in fact galaxies, their light heavily distorted by the gravitational field of Abell 2537.

This spectacular scene was captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3 as part of an observing programme called RELICS.

 

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA

About the Image

Id:potw1748a
Type:Observation
Release date:27 November 2017, 06:00
Size:6389 x 5929 px

About the Object

Name:Abell 2537
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Constellation:Pisces
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
17.2 MB
Screensize JPEG
250.0 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
225.3 KB
1280x1024
380.7 KB
1600x1200
596.1 KB
1920x1200
769.5 KB
2048x1536
1.0 MB

Coordinates

Position (RA):23 8 22.28
Position (Dec):-2° 11' 33.35"
Field of view:3.19 x 2.96 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 20.7° left of vertical

Colours & filters

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

Also see our


Accelerated by CDN77