This image, captured by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, shows a massive group of galaxies bound together by gravity: a cluster named RXC J0032.1+1808.
Here’s what NASA said about this image:
This image was taken by Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3 as part of an observing program called RELICS (Reionization Lensing Cluster Survey). RELICS imaged 41 massive galaxy clusters with the aim of finding the brightest distant galaxies for the forthcoming NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) to study.
The JWST is designed to see in infrared wavelengths, which is exceedingly useful for observing distant objects. As a result of the expansion of the universe, very distant objects are highly redshifted (their light is shifted towards the redder end of the spectrum) and so infrared telescopes are needed to study them. While Hubble currently has the ability to peer billions of years into the past to see “toddler” galaxies, the JWST will have the capability to study “baby” galaxies, the first galaxies that formed in the universe.
Bottom line: Hubble image of glowing galaxies in massive cluster.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.