Hubble observes the gravitational lens of a massive cluster of galaxies

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(ORDO NEWS) — A massive cluster of galaxies in the constellation Cetus is at the center of this image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. The photograph captures many elliptical and spiral galaxies.

The galaxies surrounding the central cluster, called SPT-CL J0019-2026, appear to be elongated into bright arcs, as if distorted by a giant magnifying glass.

This cosmic curvature, called a gravitational lens, occurs when the powerful gravitational field of a massive object, such as a galaxy cluster, distorts and amplifies light from background objects.

Under normal conditions, these objects would be too distant and faint to see, but the magnifying power of the gravitational lens expands Hubble’s field of view.

This observation is part of a project to fill short gaps in the Hubble observational timeline by systematically studying the most massive clusters of galaxies in the distant universe.

Scientists want to identify promising targets for further study using Hubble and the James Webb Space Telescope.

This cluster of galaxies, photographed by Hubble, is located at a huge distance of 4.6 billion light-years from Earth.


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