Image: Hubble's cosmic fireflies

December 18, 2017, NASA
Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Galaxies glow like fireflies in this spectacular NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image. This flickering swarm of cosmic fireflies is a rich cluster of galaxies called Abell 2163.

Abell 2163 is a member of the Abell catalog, an all-sky catalog of over 4,000 . It is particularly well-studied because the material sitting at its core (its intracluster medium) exhibits exceptional properties, including a large and bright radio halo and extraordinarily high temperatures and X-ray luminosities. It is the hottest in the catalog! Observing massive clusters like Abell 2163 can contribute to the study of dark matter, and provide a new perspective on the distant Universe via phenomena such as gravitational lensing.

This image was taken by Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Wide-Field Camera 3, partially for an extensive observing program called RELICS. The program is imaging 41 massive galaxy clusters to find the brightest distant , which will be studied in more detail using both current telescopes and the future James Webb Space Telescope.

Explore further: Hubble sees galaxy cluster warping space and time

Related Stories

Hubble digs into cosmic archaeology

October 30, 2017

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image is chock-full of galaxies. Each glowing speck is a different galaxy, except the bright flash in the middle of the image which is actually a star lying within our own galaxy that ...

Hubble cashes in Abell's richest cluster

November 6, 2017

The universe contains some truly massive objects. Although we are still unsure how such gigantic things come to be, the current leading theory is known as hierarchical clustering, whereby small clumps of matter collide and ...

Hubble reveals a super-rich galactic neighborhood

November 19, 2014

(Phys.org) —This new image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the super-rich galaxy cluster Abell 1413. Located between the constellations of Leo (The Lion) and Coma Berenices, the cluster is over 2 billion ...

A lot of galaxies need guarding in this NASA Hubble view

May 4, 2017

Much like the eclectic group of space rebels in the upcoming film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has some amazing superpowers, specifically when it comes to observing innumerable galaxies flung ...

Image: Hubble catches galaxies swarmed by star clusters

October 2, 2017

In the center of a rich cluster of galaxies located in the direction of the constellation of Coma Berenices, lies a galaxy surrounded by a swarm of star clusters. NGC 4874 is a giant elliptical galaxy, about ten times larger ...

Recommended for you

New research seeks to optimize space travel efficiency

April 18, 2018

Sending a human into space and doing it efficiently presents a galaxy of challenges. Koki Ho, University of Illinois assistant professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and his graduate students, Hao Chen and ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.