Hubble captures galactic menagerie

(ORDO NEWS) — The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope imaged this massive galaxy cluster called Abell 1351 with its Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys. Abell 1351 is located in the constellation Ursa Major in the northern hemisphere.

This image is filled with streaks of light that are actually images of distant galaxies. The fringes are the result of gravitational lensing, an astrophysical phenomenon that occurs when a massive celestial body, such as a cluster of galaxies, warps space and time enough to affect the path of light passing through it, almost as if the light were passing through a giant lens.

Gravitational lensing comes in two flavors, strong and weak, and both can help astronomers determine the distribution of mass within a lensing galaxy cluster like Abell 1351.

This observation is part of an astronomical album that collects images of some of the most massive clusters of galaxies.

This menagerie of massive clusters showcases interesting astrophysical phenomena such as strong gravitational lensing, as well as spectacular examples of the rapid evolution of galaxies.

Snapshot programs are lists of individual, relatively short exposures that are placed between longer Hubble observations. Having a large pool of candidate snapshots to study allows Hubble to use every second of possible observing time, increasing the productivity of the observatory.

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