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Site of collision of 4 galaxy clusters

Here’s galaxy cluster MACS J0717, the site of a collision between 4 galaxy clusters, located about 5.4 billion light years away from Earth.

Galaxy cluster MACS J0717. X-ray image via NASA/CXC/SAO/van Weeren et al.; Optical image via NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA.

Galaxy cluster MACS J0717. X-ray image via NASA/CXC/SAO/van Weeren et al.; Optical image via NASA/STScI; Radio: NSF/NRAO/VLA.

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory said that galaxy cluster MACS J0717 is one of the most complex and distorted galaxy clusters known. It’s the site of a collision between four clusters, located about 5.4 billion light years away from Earth.

Galaxy clusters are enormous collections of hundreds or thousands of galaxies and vast reservoirs of hot gas embedded in massive clouds of dark matter. This images contains X-ray data from Chandra (blue), and optical light from Hubble (red, green, and blue).

The image is part of the “Frontier Fields” project, in which astronomers are studying half a dozen galaxy clusters, including MACS J0717.

Read more and see more images from Frontier Fields, from NASA

Deborah Byrd

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