Tracing Diffuse Starlight in Galaxy Cluster MACS J0416.1-2403
Amid the bright light of its member galaxies, the galaxy cluster MACS J0416.1-2403 also emits a soft glow of intracluster light, produced by stars that are not part of any individual galaxy. These stars were scattered throughout the cluster long ago, when their home galaxies were torn apart by the cluster's gravitational forces. The homeless stars eventually aligned themselves with the gravity of the overall cluster. Hubble's unique sensitivity and resolution captures the faint light and uses it to trace the location of invisible dark matter, which dominates the cluster's gravitational field.