A colossal cluster

Esahubble_potw1815a_1024

esahubble_potw1815a April 9th, 2018

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a massive galaxy cluster glowing brightly in the darkness. Despite its beauty, this cluster bears the distinctly unpoetic name of PLCK_G308.3-20.2. Galaxy clusters can contain thousands of galaxies all held together by the glue of gravity. At one point in time they were believed to be the largest structures in the Universe until they were usurped in the 1980s by the discovery of superclusters, which typically contain dozens of galaxy clusters and groups and span hundreds of millions of light-years. However, clusters do have one thing to cling on to; superclusters are not held together by gravity, so galaxy clusters still retain the title of the biggest structures in the Universe bound by gravity. One of the most interesting features of galaxy clusters is the stuff that permeates the space between the constituent galaxies: the intracluster medium (ICM). High temperatures are created in these spaces by smaller structures forming within the cluster. This results in the ICM being made up of plasma ordinary matter in a superheated state. Most luminous matter in the cluster resides in the ICM, which is very luminous X-rays. However, the majority of the mass in a galaxy cluster exists in the form of non-luminous dark matter. Unlike plasma, dark matter is not made from ordinary matter such as protons, neutrons and electrons. It is a hypothesised substance thought to make up 80 % of the Universes mass, yet it has never been directly observed. This image was taken by Hubbles Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3 as part of an observing programme called RELICS (Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey). RELICS imaged 41 massive galaxy clusters with the aim of finding the brightest distant galaxies for the forthcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to study.

Image Source: https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1815a/

Curator: ESA/Hubble, Garching bei München, Germany

Image Use Policy: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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Image Details

Image Type
Observation
Subject - Distant Universe
Galaxy » Grouping » Cluster
Esahubble_potw1815a_1280
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ID
potw1815a
Subject Category
D.5.5.3  
Subject Name
Credits
ESA/Hubble & NASA, RELICS
Lightyears
Redshift
Reference Url
https://www.spacetelescope.org/images/potw1815a/
Type
Observation
Image Quality
Distance Notes
Facility
Instrument
Color Assignment
Band
Bandpass
Central Wavelength
Start Time
Integration Time
Dataset ID
Notes
Coordinate Frame
Equinox
Reference Value
Reference Dimension
5224.0, 4716.0
Reference Pixel
Scale
Rotation
Coordinate System Projection:
Quality
FITS Header
Notes
Creator (Curator)
ESA/Hubble
URL
http://www.spacetelescope.org
Name
Email
Telephone
Address
Karl-Schwarzschild-Strasse 2
City
Garching bei München
State/Province
Postal Code
D-85748
Country
Germany
Rights
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Publisher
ESA/Hubble
Publisher ID
esahubble
Resource ID
potw1815a
Metadata Date
2017-08-08T11:52:02+02:00
Metadata Version
1.1
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