The farthest cluster of galaxies ever seen?

This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals one of the faintest and probably farthest clusters of galaxies ever seen. The cluster contains about 30 very faint objects which are unusually small and compact in appearance. (The larger objects are foreground galaxies located in a separate galaxy cluster four billion light-years away). These lumpy spots do not appear to resemble the elliptical and spiral galaxies of today. The objects might not be separate galaxies but rather sites of strong star formation embedded within primordial galaxies which are too faint to be seen in this HST exposure.

The colours of these objects (measured with the Mount Palomar 200-inch telescope), place the cluster at a distance of at least seven billion light-years (redshift z > 1.)


Alan Dressier, Carnegie Institution, and NASA/ESA Co-Investigators:Augustus Oemler (Yale University), James E. Gunn (Princeton University), Harvey Butcher(the Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy).

About the Image

NASA press release
Release date:1 December 1992, 06:00
Size:3738 x 1205 px

About the Object

Name:CL 0939+4713
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Distance:z=0.406 (redshift)
Constellation:Ursa Major

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
77.8 KB


Position (RA):9 43 6.02
Position (Dec):46° 59' 43.22"
Field of view:0.85 x 0.28 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 3.2° right of vertical

Colours & filters

720 nm Hubble Space Telescope

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