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Hubble sheds light on small-scale concentrations of dark matter (artist's impression)

Hubble sheds light on small-scale concentrations of dark matter (artist's impression)


Date: 10 September 2020
Satellite: Hubble Space Telescope
Depicts: MACS J1206.2-0847
Copyright: NASA, ESA, G. Caminha (University of Groningen), M. Meneghetti (Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science of Bologna), P. Natarajan (Yale University), the CLASH team, and M. Kornmesser (ESA/Hubble), CC BY 4.0

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the massive galaxy cluster MACSJ 1206. Embedded within the cluster are the distorted images of distant background galaxies, seen as arcs and smeared features. These distortions are caused by the dark matter in the cluster, whose gravity bends and magnifies the light from faraway galaxies, an effect called gravitational lensing. This phenomenon allows astronomers to study remote galaxies that would otherwise be too faint to see. 

Overlaid on the image are small-scale concentrations of dark matter (represented in this artist's impression in blue). Dark matter is the invisible glue that keeps stars bound together inside a galaxy and makes up the bulk of the matter in the Universe. These blue halos reflect how the galaxy cluster's dark matter is distributed, revealed by new results from the Hubble Space Telescope. This was accomplished by a team of astronomers by measuring the amount of gravitational lensing.

 
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Creative Commons License

Last Update: 11 September 2020
27-Sep-2020 16:19 UT

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