A menagerie of galaxie: galaxy cluster ACO S 295 Captured by Hubble

This packed ESA/Hubble Picture of the Week showcases the galaxy cluster ACO S 295, as well as a jostling crowd of background galaxies and foreground stars. Galaxies of all shapes and sizes feature this image, ranging from state-to-spiral to obscure elliptical.

The cluster predominates spectacularly and physically in the center of this image. The massive mass of the galaxy cluster gravitationally lenses background galaxies, distorting their shapes and taking off scents. In addition to providing astronomers with a natural magnifying glass to study distant galaxies, gravitational lensing has subtly created the centerpiece of the image, creating a visually appealing scene.

The galaxy cluster dominates “the center of this image, both visually and physically,” the  US space agency said in its note. “The cluster’s huge mass has gravitationally lensed the light from background galaxies, distorting and smearing their shapes.

In addition to providing astronomers with a natural magnifying glass with which to study distant galaxies, gravitational lensing has subtly framed the center of this image, producing a visually striking scene,” the statement read.

Hubble Space Telescope

The Hubble Space Telescope, a giant space-based observer, was launched and deployed in 1990 by the discovery of the space shuttle. Since then it has revolutionized astronomy. Scientists have used Hubble to observe some distant stars and galaxies in the solar system, as well as planets.

Over the last 30 years of its operation, its power has increased with the addition of new cutting-edge scientific instruments to the telescope at five astronaut servicing missions, which has greatly improved the telescope’s lifespan.

The telescope has made more than 1.4 million observations in its lifetime, the agency said on its website, and its findings have led to the publication of 18,000 peer-reviewed science papers.

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