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Lensing cluster Abell 383

Lensing cluster Abell 383


Date: 12 April 2011
Satellite: Hubble Space Telescope
Depicts: Abell 383
Copyright: NASA, ESA, J. Richard (CRAL) and J.-P. Kneib (LAM). Acknowledgement: Marc Postman (STScI)

The giant galaxy cluster in the centre of this image contains so much dark matter mass that its gravity bends the light of more distant objects. This means that for very distant galaxies in the background, the cluster's gravitational field acts as a sort of magnifying glass, bending and concentrating the distant object's light towards Hubble. These gravitational lenses are one tool astronomers can use to extend Hubble's vision beyond what it would normally be capable of observing.

This way some of the very first galaxies in the Universe can be studied by astronomers.

The lensing effect can also be used to determine the distribution of matter – both ordinary and dark matter – within the cluster.

Last Update: 1 September 2019
27-Feb-2021 21:50 UT

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