Space Invader Galaxy in Abell 68 (Cluster of Galaxies)

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Abell 68
Cluster of Galaxies (銀河団)

星座 (Constellation)

こぎつね座 (Vul) (Vulpecula)

距離 (Distance)

21億光年 (2.1 billion light-years)

Abell 68 is a cluster of galaxies located 2.1 billion light years from the Earth in the constellation Vulpecula.

Space Invader Galaxy in Abell 68 (Cluster of Galaxies) : Picture

Gravitational Lens Creates Cartoon of Space Invader
Gravitational Lens Creates Cartoon of Space Invader
The gravitational field surrounding this massive cluster of galaxies, Abell 68, acts as a natural lens in space to brighten and magnify the light coming from very distant background galaxies.

Like a fun house mirror, lensing creates a fantasy landscape of arc-like images and mirror images of background galaxies. The foreground cluster is 2 billion light-years away, and the lensed images come from galaxies far behind it.

In this photo, the image of a spiral galaxy at upper left has been stretched and mirrored into a shape similar to that of a simulated alien from the classic 1970s computer game "Space Invaders!" A second, less distorted image of the same galaxy appears to the left of the large, bright elliptical galaxy.

In the upper right of the photo is another striking feature of the image that is unrelated to gravitational lensing. What appears to be purple liquid dripping from a galaxy is a phenomenon called ram-pressure stripping. The gas clouds within the galaxy are being stripped out and heated up as the galaxy passes through a region of denser intergalactic gas.

This image was taken in infrared light by Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, and combined with near-infrared observations from Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Looking Through Abell 68
Looking Through Abell 68
(C) NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage/ESA-Hubble Collaboration - Acknowledgment: Nick Rose
Want to use a cluster of galaxies as a telescope? It's easier than you might think as distant galaxy clusters naturally act as strong gravitional lenses. In accordance with Einstein's theory of general relativity, the cluster gravitational mass, dominated by dark matter, bends light and creates magnified, distorted images of even more distant background galaxies. This sharp infrared Hubble image illustrates the case for galaxy cluster Abell 68 as a gravitational telescope, explored by amateur astronomer Nick Rose during the ESA-Hubble Hidden Treasures image processing competition. Putting your cursor over the picture will label highlights in the scene. Labels 1 and 2 show two lensed images of the same background galaxy. The distorted galaxy image labeled 2 resembles a vintage space invader! Label 3 marks a cluster member galaxy, not gravitationally lensed, stripped of its own gas as it plows through the denser intergalactic medium. Label 4 includes many background galaxies imaged as elongated streaks and arcs. Abell 68 itself is some 2.1 billion light-years distant toward the constellation Vulpecula. The central region of the cluster covered in the Hubble view spans over 1.2 million light-years.

Space Invader Galaxy in Abell 68 (Cluster of Galaxies) : Movie

Zooming in on Abell 68

Panning across Abell 68
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