News Release Archive:

News Release 34 of 137

June 26, 2012 01:00 PM (EDT)

News Release Number: STScI-2012-19

NASA's Hubble Spots Rare Gravitational Arc from Distant, Hefty Galaxy Cluster


Image: Galaxy Cluster IDCS J1426.5+3508 and Giant Arc

Galaxy Cluster IDCS J1426.5+3508 and Giant ArcSTScI-PRC2012-19a

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These images, taken by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, show an arc of blue light behind an extremely massive cluster of galaxies residing 10 billion light-years away.

The giant arc is the stretched shape of a more distant star-forming galaxy whose light is distorted by the monster cluster's powerful gravity, an effect called gravitational lensing. The "lensed" galaxy existed 10 billion to 13 billion years ago.

The arc, located within the small box, is barely visible in the Hubble image of the cluster, named IDCS J1426.5+3508. A close-up image of the arc is shown in the inset. The images were taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide Field Camera 3 in 2010.

The cluster is the most massive found at that epoch, weighing as much as 500 trillion suns. The assemblage is 5 to 10 times larger than other clusters found at such an early time in the universe's history. This unique system constitutes the most distant cluster known to "host" a giant gravitationally lensed arc.

Object Name: IDCS J1426.5+3508

Image Type: Astronomical/Illustration

Credit: NASA, ESA, and A. Gonzalez (University of Florida, Gainesville), A. Stanford (University of California, Davis and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), and M. Brodwin (University of Missouri-Kansas City and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)


The above montage includes these images:

Galaxy Cluster IDCS J1426.5+3508 Image Type: Astronomical Galaxy Cluster IDCS J1426.5+3508 Giant Gravitational Arc Image Type: Astronomical Giant Gravitational Arc

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