Six Cluster Collisions, with Dark-Matter Maps (Hubble and Chandra — Annotated)
This collage shows images of six different galaxy clusters taken with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory. The clusters were observed in a study of how dark matter in clusters of galaxies behaves when the clusters collide. Seventy-two large cluster collisions were studied in total.
Using visible-light images from Hubble, the team was able to map the post-collision distribution of stars and also of the dark matter (colored in blue), which was traced through its gravitational lensing effects on background light. Chandra was used to see the X-ray emission from impacted gas (pink).
The team determined that dark matter interacts with itself and everything else even less than previously thought.
The clusters shown here are, from left to right and top to bottom: MACS J0416.1-2403, MACS J0152.5-2852, MACS J0717.5+3745, Abell 370, Abell 2744, and ZwCl 1358+62.
Image Credit: NASA, ESA, STScI, and CXC;
Science Credit: NASA, ESA, D. Harvey (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland; University of Edinburgh, UK), R. Massey (Durham University, UK), T. Kitching (University College London, UK), and A. Taylor and E. Tittley (University of Edinburgh, UK)