Merging Galaxy Cluster Imaged with Two Telescopes

New image also shows the distribution of dark matter within this region of space

  This is the Abell 520 galaxy cluster (Click on image for higher resolution)
Using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, in Hawaii, a team of astronomers was recently able to image an extremely violent cosmic event – the collision of galaxies at the core of the Abell 520 cluster.

Using data from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope, in Hawaii, a team of astronomers was recently able to image an extremely violent cosmic event – the collision of galaxies at the core of the Abell 520 cluster.

This is a composite image, containing data from both telescopes. In addition to the galaxies themselves, it also shows the distribution of hot hydrogen gas within the portion of the sky Abell 520 occupies, as well as the distribution of dark matter filaments driving this epic collision.

According to NASA, the photograph was snapped in natural colors, but it also contains false-color components, derived from measurements made by the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory (CXO).

Personally, I find that being able to image this corner of the Universe from 2.4 billion light-years away with such clarity is absolutely amazing. What do you think?

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By    2 Mar 2012, 15:49 GMT