Brightest galaxy in Abell 2261
The giant elliptical galaxy in the centre of this image, taken by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the most massive and brightest member of the galaxy cluster Abell 2261. Astronomers refer to it as the brightest cluster galaxy (BCG).
Spanning a little over one million light-years, the galaxy is about 20 times the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy.
Astronomers used Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 to measure the amount of starlight across the galaxy, catalogued as 2MASX J17222717+3207571 but more commonly called A2261-BCG (short for Abell 2261 brightest cluster galaxy). Abell 2261 is located three billion light-years away.
The observations were taken between March and May 2011. The Abell 2261 cluster is part of a multi-wavelength survey called the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH).