The heart of a vast cluster of galaxies called Abell 383 is shown in this image, taken in visible and near-infrared light by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope.
The galaxy cluster is so massive that its gravity distorts, brightens, and magnifies light from more-distant objects behind it, an effect called gravitational lensing. The small white box at left marks the location of an exploding star called a supernova, located behind the cluster.
An enlarged view of the supernova, nicknamed Tiberius after the first century Roman emperor, is shown in the inset image at top right, taken on Jan. 18, 2011. The arrow pinpoints the supernova's location. The bright material beneath it is part of the host galaxy. The supernova is seen as it appeared 8 billion years ago.
The inset image at top left, taken in November 2010, shows the same region before the supernova blast. This image underscores the transient nature of exploding stars.
Both inset images were taken in visible light with Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.
The supernova is one of three exploding stars discovered in the Cluster Lensing And Supernova survey with Hubble (CLASH), and was followed up as part of a Supernova Cosmology Project HST program. CLASH is a Hubble census that probed the distribution of dark matter in 25 galaxy clusters. Dark matter cannot be seen directly but is believed to make up most of the universe's matter.
The image of the galaxy cluster was taken between November 2010 and February 2011 by Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys.
Credit: NASA, ESA, C. McCully (Rutgers University), A. Koekemoer (STScI), M. Postman (STScI), A. Riess (STScI/JHU), S. Perlmutter (UC Berkeley, LBNL), J. Nordin (NBNL, UC Berkeley), and D. Rubin (Florida State University)