Hubble’s View of the Coma Galaxy Cluster

Compared to the galaxy cluster below, our Local Group is nothing…

Coma Cluster by HST. Click to enlarge

This is the Coma Galaxy Cluster, also known as Abell 1656, located 300 million light-years away. There are thousands of members in this cluster, easily dwarf our Local Group of only 30 over members.

This view of Coma Cluster by Hubble Space Telescope stretches several million light-years across, consists only a portion of the entire cluster, which is more than 20 million light-years in diameter.

Coma Cluster, as it name suggested, lies in the constellation Coma Berenices. This portion of the sky is way out from the plane of the Milky Way, hence it is easier to observe because it is not obscured by the dust and gas in our galaxy.

The cluster is a real collection of galaxies. There is abundance of elliptical galaxies, featureless brownish “fuzzy-balls” which contains old stars staying at the centre. Further out we have spiral galaxies with a distinctive disc structure. Then we have lenticular galaxies, galaxies that are something between an elliptical and a spiral. Lenticulars do show some structure – a bar or a ring perhaps – that may eventually give rise to more disc-like features. And also visible in the image are background galaxies that don’t belong to Coma.

Coma Cluster by HST. Click to enlarge

Coma Cluster by HST. Click to enlarge

A series of dusty spiral arms appears reddish brown against the whiter disc of the galaxy on the right, suggests that this galaxy has been disturbed at some point in the past, which is not uncommon in galaxy cluster.

Coma Cluster by HST. Click to enlarge

Lenticular galaxy in the Coma Cluster with numerous background galaxies.

Source: ESA Space Telescope News Release


~ by thChieh on June 11, 2008.

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