From Frontier Fields: “Meet the Frontier Fields: Abell S1063”

Frontier Fields

March 5, 2014
Dr. Brandon Lawton

As observed by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Abell S1063 galaxy cluster is incredibly bright in high-energy X-ray light1. When neighboring galaxies or clusters of galaxies merge due to gravity, the infalling gases collide. The resulting shock heats the gas, which then emits high-energy X-ray light. The Abell S1063 galaxy cluster’s X-ray brightness is one of the clues that suggests we may actually be observing a major event involving the merging of multiple galaxy clusters.

NASA ChandraTelescope

Abell S1063

The Abell catalogue of galaxy clusters was first compiled by astronomer George O. Abell in 1958, with over 2,700 galaxy clusters observable from the Northern Hemisphere. The Abell catalogue was updated in 1989 with galaxy clusters from the Southern Hemisphere.

abell s1063 a
The locations of Hubble’s observations of the Abell S1063 galaxy cluster (right) and the adjacent parallel field (left) are plotted over a Digitized Sky Survey (DSS) image. The blue boxes outline the regions of Hubble’s visible-light observations, and the red boxes indicate areas of Hubble’s infrared-light observations. A scale bar in the lower left corner of the image indicates the size of the image on the sky. The scale bar corresponds to approximately 1/30th the apparent width of the full moon as seen from Earth. Astronomers refer to this unit of measurement as one arcminute, denoted as 1′.
Credit: Digitized Sky Survey (STScI/NASA) and Z. Levay (STScI).

See the full article here.

Frontier Fields draws on the power of massive clusters of galaxies to unleash the full potential of the Hubble Space Telescope. The gravity of these clusters warps and magnifies the faint light of the distant galaxies behind them. Hubble captures the boosted light, revealing the farthest galaxies humanity has ever encountered, and giving us a glimpse of the cosmos to be unveiled by the James Webb Space Telescope.

NASA Hubble Telescope

NASA James Webb Telescope

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