Among the largest space objects that exist in the Universe, there are galaxy clusters which are formed by up to several thousand galaxies of various sizes and ages. Now, the Hubble Space Telescope revealed an astonishing photo of a massive galaxy cluster, dubbed as RXC J0232.2-4420.
Until the 80s, the galaxy clusters were considered the most massive space objects in the Universe. However, back then, superclusters were observed on surpassed galaxy clusters as the largest objects in the Universe. But galaxy clusters present a feature that makes them more interesting than superclusters – the galaxies in clusters are held together by powerful gravitational forces.
This feature is handy for astronomers. Because of their powerful gravitational forces, the space surrounding galaxy clusters distorts turning into a cosmic lens that can be employed by astronomers to observe distant galaxies, otherwise, invisible, which can help astronomers learn more about the early history of the Universe.
Hubble Space Telescope studied the massive galaxy cluster RXC J0232.2-4420
The photo of the RXC J0232.2-4420 massive galaxy cluster has been taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and Wide-Field Camera 3 (WFC3), as part of a galaxy clusters study project dubbed as Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey (RELICS).
RXC J0232.2-4420 is a reliable source of X-rays, a fact which makes this massive galaxy cluster be a very bright one.
The study on this cluster, which implied the use of Hubble Space Telescope, was aimed to identify the diffuse light surrounding the most luminous galaxy clusters. This diffuse light is thought to originate from intergalactic stars expelled from their galaxies and captured in the intergalactic space within the clusters.
Studying the diffuse light would reveal more details about the origins of the expelled stars and how did they get expelled from their galaxies. To date, however, one hypothesis says that merging of more galaxies and other interactions between galaxies are the culprits for these stars’ expulsions.
Erin VanDyke lives on her family farm and has more than 35 years of hands-on experience with the use of livestock guard dogs for predator control. On their farm, Jan and her family use corgis as herding dogs and have raised Shetland sheep, Fainting goats, Morgan and Trakehner horses, and historic breeds of chickens and turkeys. Erin is also an active beekeeper.