Monday, July 4, 2022

Abell 370 in pills

Abell 370 is a galaxy cluster 4 billion light years away from Earth, visible in the constellation Cetus.

The cluster is a very massive object made up of several hundred galaxies which, taken together, generate the numerous gravitational lensing effects visible in the image.

The images of the galaxies behind the cluster are in fact distorted and enlarged and take on an arc shape. By studying these arcs it is possible to derive the shape and properties of distorted galaxies, which would otherwise be invisible being located too far from the Earth.

For example, the brightest arc of the whole image corresponds to a  normal spiral galaxy 5 billion light years from Earth.

Also with this method, the astronomers were able to discover a small group of galaxies located behind the cluster which, due to its arrangement, has been nicknamed the Dragon.

Another noteworthy galaxy observed through Abell 370's gravitational lens is HCM-6A. Located at 12.8 billion light years, at the time of its discovery in 2002 it was the furthest known galaxy at that time.

Credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble, Rogelio Bernal Andreo.


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