Hubble Sheds Light on Small-Scale Concentrations of Dark Matter (Artist’s Impression)

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the massive galaxy cluster MACSJ 1206. Embedded within the cluster are the distorted images of distant background galaxies, seen as arcs and smeared features. These distortions are caused by the dark matter in the cluster, whose gravity bends and magnifies the light from faraway galaxies, an effect called gravitational lensing. This phenomenon allows astronomers to study remote galaxies that would otherwise be too faint to see. 

Overlaid on the image are small-scale concentrations of dark matter (represented in this artist’s impression in blue). Dark matter is the invisible glue that keeps stars bound together inside a galaxy and makes up the bulk of the matter in the Universe. These blue halos reflect how the galaxy cluster’s dark matter is distributed, revealed by new results from the Hubble Space Telescope. This was accomplished by a team of astronomers by measuring the amount of gravitational lensing.


NASA, ESA, G. Caminha (University of Groningen), M. Meneghetti  (Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science of Bologna), P. Natarajan (Yale University), the CLASH team, and M. Kornmesser (ESA/Hubble)

About the Image

Release date:10 September 2020, 20:00
Related releases:heic2016
Size:3840 x 2160 px

About the Object

Name:MACS J1206.2-0847, MACSJ1206.2-0847
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Early Universe : Cosmology

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