Nav: Home

Hubble catches a colossal cluster

April 13, 2018

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows a massive galaxy cluster glowing brightly in the darkness. Despite its beauty, this cluster bears the distinctly unpoetic name of PLCK G308.3-20.2.

Galaxy clusters can contain thousands of galaxies all held together by the glue of gravity. At one point in time they were believed to be the largest structures in the universe -- until they were usurped in the 1980s by the discovery of superclusters. These massive formations typically contain dozens of galaxy clusters and groups and span hundreds of millions of light-years. However, clusters do have one thing to cling on to: superclusters are not held together by gravity, so galaxy clusters still retain the title of the biggest structures in the universe bound by gravity.

One of the most interesting features of galaxy clusters is the stuff that permeates the space between the constituent galaxies: the intracluster medium (ICM). High temperatures are created in these spaces by smaller structures forming within the cluster. This results in the ICM being made up of plasma -- ordinary matter in a superheated state. Most luminous matter in the cluster resides in the ICM, which is very luminous in X-rays. However, the majority of the mass in a galaxy cluster exists in the form of non-luminous dark matter. Unlike plasma, dark matter is not made from ordinary matter such as protons, neutrons and electrons. It is a hypothesized substance thought to make up 80% of the universe's mass, yet it has never been directly observed.

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 James Webb Space Telescope to study.
-end-


NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Dark Matter Articles:

Does dark matter annihilate quicker in the Milky Way?
Researchers at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai have proposed a theory that predicts how dark matter may be annihilating much more rapidly in the Milky Way, than in smaller or larger galaxies and the early Universe.
Origin of Milky Way's hypothetical dark matter signal may not be so dark
A mysterious gamma-ray glow at the center of the Milky Way is most likely caused by pulsars.
A new look at the nature of dark matter
A new study suggests that the gravitational waves detected by the LIGO experiment must have come from black holes generated during the collapse of stars, and not in the earliest phases of the Universe.
Dark matter may be smoother than expected
Analysis of a giant new galaxy survey, made with ESO's VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, suggests that dark matter may be less dense and more smoothly distributed throughout space than previously thought.
Supercomputer comes up with a profile of dark matter
In the search for the mysterious dark matter, physicists have used elaborate computer calculations to come up with an outline of the particles of this unknown form of matter.
Mapping the 'dark matter' of human DNA
Researchers from ERIBA, Radboud UMC, XJTU, Saarland University, CWI and UMC Utrecht have made a big step towards a better understanding of the human genome.
Reconciling dwarf galaxies with dark matter
Dwarf galaxies are enigmas wrapped in riddles. Although they are the smallest galaxies, they represent some of the biggest mysteries about our universe.
Did gravitational wave detector find dark matter?
When an astronomical observatory detected two black holes colliding in deep space, scientists celebrated confirmation of Einstein's prediction of gravitational waves.
Dark matter does not contain certain axion-like particles
Researchers at Stockholm University are getting closer to corner light dark-matter particle models.
SDU researchers present a new model for what dark matter might be
There are indications that we might never see the universe's mysterious dark matter.

Related Dark Matter Reading:

Dark Matter: A Novel
by Blake Crouch (Author)

Dark Matters: On the Surveillance of Blackness
by Simone Browne (Author)

Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora
by Sheree Renée Thomas (Editor)

Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe
by Lisa Randall (Author)

Introduction To Particle Dark Matter, An (Advanced Textbooks in Physics)
by Stefano Profumo (Author)

Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (Marxism and Culture)
by Gregory Sholette (Author)

Dark Matter: The Private Life of Sir Isaac Newton: A Novel
by Crown

The 4 Percent Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality
by Richard Panek (Author)

Chandra's Cosmos: Dark Matter, Black Holes, and Other Wonders Revealed by NASA's Premier X-Ray Observatory
by Wallace H. Tucker (Author)

Dark Matter
by Michelle Paver (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Approaching With Kindness
We often forget to say the words "thank you." But can those two words change how you — and those around you — look at the world? This hour, TED speakers on the power of gratitude and appreciation. Guests include author AJ Jacobs, author and former baseball player Mike Robbins, Dr. Laura Trice, Professor of Management Christine Porath, and former Danish politician Özlem Cekic.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#509 Anisogamy: The Beginning of Male and Female
This week we discuss how the sperm and egg came to be, and how a difference of reproductive interest has led to sexual conflict in bed bugs. We'll be speaking with Dr. Geoff Parker, an evolutionary biologist credited with developing a theory to explain the evolution of two sexes, about anisogamy, sexual reproduction through the fusion of two different gametes: the egg and the sperm. Then we'll speak with Dr. Roberto Pereira, research scientist in urban entomology at the University of Florida, about traumatic insemination in bed bugs.