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Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Questions and Answers
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Chandra Images
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Animations & Video: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Page 1234567
Click for high-resolution animation
1. Tour of DLSCL J0916.2+2951
QuicktimeMPEG Using a combination of powerful observatories in space and on the ground, astronomers have discovered a violent collision between two galaxy clusters. During this collision, so-called normal matter has been wrenched apart from dark matter through a violent collision between two galaxy clusters. We see the normal matter in the form of hot gas thanks to X-rays detected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. The location of the dark matter comes from optical data that reveal the effects of gravitational lensing, something Einstein predicted where large masses can distort the light from distant objects. The new galaxy cluster is called DLSCL J0916.2+2951. Rather than say that mouthful, researchers have nicknamed it the "Musket Ball Cluster." This name makes sense because this system is like an older and slower cousin to the famous Bullet Cluster. Finding another system that is further along in its evolution than the Bullet Cluster is very valuable. It gives scientists insight into a different phase of how galaxy clusters -- the largest known objects held together by gravity -- grow and change after major collisions.
[Runtime: 1:22]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
2. Tour of 3C186
QuicktimeMPEG A galaxy cluster containing a structure never previously seen so far from Earth has been observed by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The cluster is also interesting to astronomers because a bright quasar, known as 3C 186, is found at its center. Dr. Aneta Siemiginowska of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics led the team's research on this result and discusses it with us.
[Runtime: 03.30]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
3. Tour of Abell 383
QuicktimeMPEG Dark matter is mysterious. We know that it is invisible material that does not emit or absorb any type of light, but we can detect it through the gravitational effects it has on material we can see. Many scientists consider figuring out what dark matter is to be one of the biggest outstanding problems in astrophysics. Therefore, getting any new information about dark matter can help. Two teams of astronomers have used data from Chandra and other telescopes to map where the dark matter is in the galaxy cluster known as Abell 383. Not only were they able to find where dark matter lies in the two dimensions across the sky, they were also able to determine how the dark matter is distributed along the line of sight, or three dimensionally. So while there's still a long way to go before we know what dark matter is, results like these give astronomers important clues in this compelling cosmic mystery.
[Runtime: 00:59]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
4. Images of the "El Gordo" Galaxy Cluster
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence of images shows "El Gordo" in X-ray light from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, optical data from the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope, and infrared emission from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, before revealing a composite of all of the wavelengths. Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the universe that are held together by gravity, and can be used to study many things. Finding a galaxy cluster like El Gordo when the universe was less than half its current age helps astronomers better understand how the universe was evolving at that epoch.
[Runtime: 00.12]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/Rutgers/J. Hughes et al; Optical: ESO/VLT& SOAR/Rutgers/F. Menanteau; IR: NASA/JPL/Rutgers/F. Menanteau)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Tour of El Gordo
QuicktimeMPEG Astronomers using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and ground-based optical telescopes have discovered an extraordinary galaxy cluster some 7 billion light years from Earth. This cluster has been nicknamed "El Gordo," which means the "big" or "fat" one in Spanish. The nickname is a nod to the telescope in Chile that was used to help discover it, but also to the fact that El Gordo is the most massive, the hottest, and gives off more X-rays than any other galaxy cluster at this distance or beyond. The X-rays from Chandra and optical data from the VLT show that El Gordo is, in fact, the collision of two galaxy clusters ramming into one another at millions of miles per hour. This makes a younger cousin to the well-known Bullet Cluster. Galaxy clusters are very important for many reasons. As the largest objects in the Universe that are held together by gravity, galaxy clusters can be used to study the mysterious phenomena of dark matter and dark energy.
[Runtime: 1.07]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
6. Tour of Abell 2052
QuicktimeMPEG 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.
[Runtime: 01:14]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
7. Tour of Abell 2744
QuicktimeMPEG One of the most complicated and dramatic collisions ever seen between galaxy clusters is captured in this new composite image. This collision site, known officially as Abell 2744, has been dubbed "Pandora's Cluster" because of the wide variety of the different structures found here. Data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory show gas with temperatures of millions of degrees. A map based on data from Hubble and two ground-based optical telescopes reveals the location of matter, most of which is the mysterious material known as dark matter. Working together, these telescopes show that Pandora's cluster is actually the result of the collision of at least four separate galaxy clusters, each coming from a different direction. Scientists think this cosmic smash-up has taken place over a span of some 350 million years.
[Runtime: 1.11]
(NASA/CXC/A. Hobart)

Related Chandra Images:

Click for high-resolution animation
8. Tour of Super-volcano M87
QuicktimeMPEG Earlier this year, a powerful volcano in Iceland erupted and caused havoc with air traffic around Europe. Elsewhere in the Universe, a similar galactic super volcano has been erupting for millions of years. This composite image from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory with radio data from the Very Large Array shows a cosmic volcano being driven by a black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy. This eruption is pumping energy into the black holes surroundings and preventing hundreds of millions of new stars from forming just as the volcano in Iceland caused disruptions in the Earths atmosphere. The comparison between the black hole in M87 and the volcano in Iceland shows that even though astronomical phenomena occur in exotic settings and over huge scales, the physics can be very similar to events on Earth.
[Runtime: 01.01]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/KIPAC/N. Werner, E. Million et al); Radio (NRAO/AUI/NSF/F. Owen) Volcano image: Omar Ragnarsson)

Related Chandra Images:
  • Photo Album: M87

Click for high-resolution animation
9. Tour of Abell 3376
QuicktimeMPEG This composite image of the galaxy cluster Abell 3376 shows X-ray data from the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the ROSAT telescope along with an optical image from the Digitized Sky Survey and radio emission observed by the Very Large Array. The "bullet-like" appearance of the X-ray data is caused by a merger, as material flows into the galaxy cluster from the right side. Two different teams used Chandra observations of galaxy clusters, including Abell 3376, to study the properties of gravity on cosmic scales. This allowed them to test the Theory of General Relativity, and it turns out Einstein and his theory are still holding their own. Such studies are crucial for understanding the evolution of the universe, both in the past and the future, and for probing the nature of dark energy, one of the biggest mysteries in science.
[Runtime: 1.03]
(X-ray (NASA/CXC/SAO/A. Vikhlinin; ROSAT), Optical (DSS), Radio (NSF/NRAO/VLA/IUCAA/J.Bagchi)

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Click for high-resolution animation
10. Images of Long Galaxy Tail
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence of images begins with a wide-field view of Abell 3627, a giant cluster of galaxies, as seen in X-rays by ESA's XMM-Newton observatory. The view then zooms into an area that shows the galaxy ESO 137-001 as it plunges toward the cluster. First shown in optical light (white) then hydrogen emission (red), the image then turns to the multimillion-degree gas observed NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The final image is a composite of all of these data showing the long tail behind ESO 137-001 that is creating stars in its wake.
[Runtime: 0:13]
(X-ray: Chandra X-ray: NASA/CXC/MSU/M.Sun et al; XMM-Newton X-ray ESA/MSU/M.Sun et al; H-alpha/Optical: SOAR (MSU/NOAO/UNC/CNPq-Brazil)/M.Sun et al.)

Related Chandra Images:

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