Two Colliding Galaxy Clusters Detected

Two Colliding Galaxy Clusters Detected

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The colliding of two galaxies represents a spectacular astronomical event. It is also something that has rarely been spotted by telescopes to date.

 

The new image has been captured by the Hubble telescope. The Hubble Space Telescope is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990. The telescope has a 2.4-meter mirror, and the main instruments are designed to detect the near ultraviolet, visible, and near infrared spectra.

Hubble survey field containing tens of thousands of galaxies including one seen 13.4 billion years in the past Credits: NASA, ESA, University of California, Santa Cruz, STScI
Hubble survey field containing tens of thousands of galaxies including one seen 13.4 billion years in the past
Credits: NASA, ESA, University of California, Santa Cruz, STScI

The details about the colliding galaxies have been released by NASA through images taken within the infrared light spectrum. These pictures are then transformed using color, so people can visualize them.

 

The pictures show a collision between two galaxy clusters. This has been termed MACS J416.1-2403 in NASA-speak, which somewhat detracts from the beautiful images. The images are enhanced because the galaxy clusters probably contain proportions of dark matter, leading to a blue and purple haze effect. Dark matter is a theoretical substance thought to account for around five-sixths of the matter in the universe. It is thought to cause various gravitational effects.

 

According to NASA, the cluster collision happened some 4.3 billion light years away in the constellation known as Eridanus. Eridanus is a constellation in the southern hemisphere.

 

Additional commentary from Laboratory Roots explains that the extreme pressure of hot gasses creates a “magnifying lens”; and this allows astronomers to visualized distant galaxies, because the heat and distortion actually bends light.