Monday, November 12, 2018

"Of Bent Time and Jellyfish" | Hubble

At first glance, a bright blue crescent immediately jumps out of this NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image: is it a bird? A plane? Evidence of extraterrestrial life? No—it is a galaxy.

The shape of this galaxy admittedly appears to be somewhat bizarre, so confusion would be forgiven. This is due to a cosmic phenomenon called gravitational lensing. In this image, the gravitational influence of a massive galaxy cluster (called SDSS J1110+6459) is causing its surroundings spacetime to bend and warp, affecting the passage of any nearby light. This cluster to the lower left of the blue streak; a few more signs of lensing (streaks, blobs, curved lines, distorted shapes) can be seen dotted around this area.

This image also features a rare and interesting type of galaxy called a jellyfish galaxy, visible just right next to the cluster and apparently dripping bright blue material. These are galaxies that lose gas via a process called galactic ram pressure stripping, where the drag caused by the galaxy moving through space causes gas to be stripped away.

Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt
Release Date: November 12, 2018


#NASA #Hubble #Astronomy #Space #Science #Galaxy #Jellyfish #GravitationalLensing #Cluster #SDSSJ11106459 #Astrophysics #Cosmos #Universe #Telescope #ESA #Goddard #GSFC #STScI #STEM #Education

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