The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has caught an image of at least two galaxy clusters merging to form what the European Space Agency (ESA) refers to as a “gargantuan cluster.” The ESA/NASA report was made public earlier this month on the NASA website.

According to the image’s report, the HST observation saw the creation of “a single gargantuan cluster acting as a gravitational lens.” The HST is operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in collaboration with the European Space Agency (ESA).

A gravitational lens is defined as a phenomena that “can occur when a massive amount of matter, such as a cluster of galaxies, creates a gravitational field that distorts and magnifies the light from distant galaxies that are behind it but in the same line of sight.”

It functions similarly to a magnifying glass, microscope, or binoculars, allowing astronomers to examine celestial bodies that would otherwise be too distant to see. The fact that the HST photographed merging galaxy clusters generating a gravitational lens demonstrates the tremendous size of the cosmic event being seen.

 

Categorized in: