Hubble focuses on 'the great attractor'

Jan 23, 2013
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

(Phys.org)—A busy patch of space has been captured in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Scattered with many nearby stars, the field also has numerous galaxies in the background.

Located on the border of Triangulum Australe (The Southern Triangle) and Norma (The Carpenter's Square), this field covers part of the Norma Cluster (Abell 3627) as well as a dense area of our own galaxy, the Milky Way.

The Norma Cluster is the closest cluster to the Milky Way, and lies about 220 million light-years away. The enormous mass concentrated here, and the consequent gravitational attraction, mean that this region of space is known to astronomers as the Great Attractor, and it dominates our region of the Universe.

The largest galaxy visible in this image is ESO 137-002, a seen edge on. In this image from Hubble, we see large regions of dust across the galaxy's bulge. What we do not see here is the tail of glowing X-rays that has been observed extending out of the galaxy—but which is invisible to an optical telescope like Hubble.

Observing the Great Attractor is difficult at . The plane of the Milky Way—responsible for the numerous bright stars in this image—both outshines (with stars) and obscures (with dust) many of the objects behind it. There are some tricks for seeing through this—infrared or radio observations, for instance—but the region behind the center of the Milky Way, where the dust is thickest, remains an almost complete mystery to astronomers.

This image consists of exposures in blue and infrared light taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys.

Explore further: The Great Debate over whether the universe is small or large

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Glitter galaxy through Hubble's eye

Dec 03, 2012

(Phys.org)—The brilliant cascade of stars through the middle of this image is the galaxy ESO 318-13 as seen by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope.

Hubble spies edge-on beauty

May 21, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Visible in the constellation of Andromeda, NGC 891 is located approximately 30 million light-years away from Earth. The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope turned its powerful wide field Advanced ...

Hubble zooms in on double nucleus in Andromeda galaxy

Jan 11, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new Hubble Space Telescope image centers on the 100-million-solar-mass black hole at the hub of the neighboring spiral galaxy M31, or the Andromeda galaxy, the only galaxy outside the Milky ...

Hubble eyes the needle galaxy

Dec 24, 2012

(Phys.org)—Like finding a silver needle in the haystack of space, the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has produced this beautiful image of the spiral galaxy IC 2233, one of the flattest galaxies known.

Hubble sees a vapor of stars

Jul 02, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Relatively few galaxies possess the sweeping, luminous spiral arms or brightly glowing center of our home galaxy the Milky Way. In fact, most of the Universe's galaxies look like small, amorphous ...

Hubble sees the needle galaxy, edge-on and up close

Jul 16, 2012

(Phys.org) -- This image snapped by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope reveals an exquisitely detailed view of part of the disc of the spiral galaxy NGC 4565. This bright galaxy is one of the most famous ...

Recommended for you

Mystery of rare five-hour space explosion explained

Sep 17, 2014

Next week in St. Petersburg, Russia, scientists on an international team that includes Penn State University astronomers will present a paper that provides a simple explanation for mysterious ultra-long gamma-ray ...

Glowing galaxies in telescopic timelapse

Sep 17, 2014

We often speak of the discoveries and data flowing from astronomical observatories, which makes it easy to forget the cool factor. Think of it—huge telescopes are probing the universe under crystal-clear ...

Violent origins of disc galaxies probed by ALMA

Sep 17, 2014

For decades scientists have believed that galaxy mergers usually result in the formation of elliptical galaxies. Now, for the the first time, researchers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/sub-millimeter ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

vidyunmaya
1 / 5 (3) Jan 24, 2013
Transition from Shaded concept at Milkyway to heart and Beyond -This image at 22x10^8 LY helps Expansion.