Astronomy Picture of the Week – Pandora’s Cluster

This galaxy cluster commonly known as Pandora’s Cluster is officially named Abell 2744. As observed by a team of scientists, the cluster has a complex and violent history. The giant galaxy cluster appears to be the result of a simultaneous pile-up of at least four separate, smaller galaxy clusters. The crash took place over a span of 350 million years.

Pandora's Cluster

This false-color image is the result of observations using telescopes in space and on the ground, including the Hubble Space Telescope, the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, the Japanese Subaru telescope, and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

The galaxies in the cluster make up less than five percent of its mass. An approximate 20 percent is made up by gas so hot that it only shines in X-rays, which has been colored red in this image. The remaining 75 percent of the cluster’s mass is made up of invisible dark matter, colored in blue.

Image Credit: NASA, ESA, J. Merten (Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics in Heidelberg and Astronomical Observatory of Bologna), and D. Coe (STScI)

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Paul Tomaszewski is a science & tech writer as well as a programmer and entrepreneur. He is the founder and editor-in-chief of CosmoBC. He has a degree in computer science from John Abbott College, a bachelor's degree in technology from the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and completed some business and economics classes at Concordia University in Montreal. While in college he was the vice-president of the Astronomy Club. In his spare time he is an amateur astronomer and enjoys reading or watching science-fiction. You can follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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