An extensive collection of galaxies glows in a new telescope image, distorting the view of distant galaxies in the background.
The galaxy, called the Abell 1351, is about four light-years away from the northern constellation of Ursa Major. A recent photo from the Hubble Space Telescope captures the spectacular view of thousands of galaxies encompassed by gravity.
Galaxy collections usually contain galaxies of various ages, shapes, and sizes. The average galaxy alone has billions of times the sun’s mass, representing one of the most significant structures in the universe.
The latest photo was taken using Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 and an advanced surveillance camera. The bright light of distant galaxies surrounds the image, caused by what is known as gravitational lensing, according to a European Space Agency (ESA) statement.
Gravity lenses occur when a strong magnetic field produced by an immense galaxy bends the light of distant objects visible in the same line of sight. This means that when things are viewed in a universe, they appear to be magnified and distorted.
“This series of large collections showcases exciting astrophysical objects, such as powerful magnetic lenses, as well as fine examples of violent galaxy emergence,” ESA officials said in a statement.
This gravitational effect gives astronomers an essential insight into the distribution of weight within a lens galaxy, such as Abell 1351. Hubble’s latest photo was taken as part of a stellar album called the Snapshot Program, which aims to record some of the largest galaxy collections—using Hubble’s powerful cameras.
“These Snapshot programs are a list of different, short exposures that could fill the gaps between Hubble’s long-term review,” ESA officials said in a statement. “Having a large Snapshot candidate can dive into it allows Hubble to use every second of viewing time as much as possible and maximize the scientific effect of the viewing area.”