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Abell 2052 Animations
Click for low-resolution animation
Tour of Abell 2052
Quicktime MPEG
The galaxy cluster Abell 2052 is found some 480 million light years from Earth. At the center of Abell 2052 is a giant elliptical galaxy, and within that is a supermassive black hole. X-ray data from Chandra show the hot gas that fills the space within the cluster. Pulling away, we see a huge spiral structure around this central elliptical galaxy. This spiral, which is over one million light years across, was created when a smaller spiral smashed into Abell 2052. This caused the hot gas in the cluster to slosh back and forth, similar to how wine moves when a glass is tugged from side to side. This sloshing turns out to be very important. First, it helps redistribute the hot gas, which, in turn, affects the number of new stars being formed in the central galaxy. The sloshing also spreads elements like oxygen and iron throughout the cluster, enriching future generations of stars and planets with the building blocks necessary for life as we know it.
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(Credit: NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)


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