The Hubble team posted an incredibly beautiful photo of ACO S 295, a massive galaxy cluster located 3.5 billion light years far in the small southern constellation of the Horologium.
Clusters of galaxies contain thousands of galaxies of all ages, shapes and sizes. Typically, they have a mass of about a million billion times the mass of the Sun.
At one point, they were thought to be the largest structures in the Universe – until they were usurped in the 1980s by the discovery of superclusters.
However, clusters have one thing to cling to; superaggregates are not held together by gravity, so galaxy clusters still hold the title of the largest structures in the Universe bound by gravity.
Albert Einstein predicted in his theory of general relativity that massive objects would distort the fabric of space itself.
When light passes in front of one of these objects, such as a massive galaxy cluster, its path is slightly altered.
Known as the gravitational lens, this effect is only visible in rare cases and only the best telescopes can observe the associated phenomena.
âThe ACO S 295 cluster dominates the center of the new image, both visually and physically,â the Hubble astronomers said.
“The enormous mass of the galaxy cluster gravitationally crystallized the background galaxies, distorting and smearing their shapes.”
âIn addition to providing astronomers with a natural magnifying glass for studying distant galaxies, the gravitational lens subtly framed the center of this image, producing a visually striking scene.
âGalaxies of all shapes and sizes populate this image, ranging from majestic spirals to fuzzy ellipticals,â the researchers added.
âIn addition to a range of sizes, this galactic menagerie has a range of orientations, with spiral galaxies such as the one in the center of this image appearing almost face up, and some edge-on spiral galaxies visible only as thin shards. from light . “