Peering Through the Lens of a Galaxy Cluster
The giant cluster of elliptical galaxies in the center of this image contains so much dark matter mass that its gravity bends light. This means that for very distant galaxies in the background, the cluster¹s gravitational field acts as a sort of magnifying glass, bending and concentrating the distant objects' light. These gravitational lenses are one tool astronomers can use to extend the vision of telescopes beyond what they would normally be capable of observing.
This particular lens, called Abell 383, was used to find a galaxy so far away that we see it as it was less than a billion years after the Big Bang. This distant galaxy's light has been warped into two, very faint images that are hard to see in this view.
Image credit: NASA, ESA, CRAL, LAM, STScI
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