Hubble image showcases cluster with mass of three million billion suns

The massive galaxy cluster known as El Gordo boasts a mass of 3 million billion suns. Photo by NASA/ESA/Hubble

Jan. 16 (UPI) — A new image captured by the Hubble Space Telescope shows what the mass of three million billion suns looks like. The image, shared Tuesday by NASA, features ACT-CLJ0102-4915, a massive cluster known as El Gordo — Spanish for “The Fat One.”

El Gordo is the biggest, brightest and hottest galaxy cluster found in the distant universe. It’s located 7 billion light-years from Earth.

As revealed by a trio of telescopes in 2012, including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, El Gordo is actually the product of two galaxy clusters, which are in the millions-of-years-long process of colliding.

The formation and evolution of galaxy clusters is thought be heavily influenced by dark matter. The study of galaxy clusters can help astrophysicists better understand dark matter and dark energy.

“Evidence suggests that El Gordo’s ‘normal’ matter — largely composed of hot gas that is bright in the X-ray wavelength domain — is being torn from the dark matter in the collision,” NASA said in a news update. “The hot gas is slowing down, while the dark matter is not.”

The new image was captured by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3. El Gordo is one of 41 giant galaxy clusters surveyed as part of the RELICS project, aimed at identifying fara

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2018-01-17T13:19:41+00:00January 17th, 2018|