You are looking at one of the stunning images of the galaxy cluster Abell 3827 taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.
This detailed image released by ESA on May 3 shows a cluster of hundreds of galaxies of various sizes, some 1.4 billion light-years from Earth. The elliptical galaxy ESO 146-5 can be seen at the center with an uneven blue halo. Based on the amount of gravitational lensing this galaxy produces, it is thought to be one of the most massive galaxies in the Universe.
The science team captured images using the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) onboard Hubble. They used software to compile multiple observations across four different wavelengths into this stunning image.
Click here for a Zoomable image.
The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a joint venture project between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). It was launched in 1990 and is the largest space telescope in orbit. With over 1.5 million observations of about 48,000 celestial objects ever since its launch 31 years ago, the Hubble has proved to be a versatile tool for astronomical research and has changed our fundamental understanding of the Universe.
For astronomers, Abell 3827 is of particular interest as it is thought to contain pockets of the elusive Dark Matter. Dark matter is believed to account for up to 70% of the matter in our Universe.
While Hubble surprises us with insights into our Universe, we also hope to hear more exciting news about Dark matter research from astronomers and scientists in the days to come.
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