Of bent time and jellyfish

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’s 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

About the Image

Id:potw1846a
Type:Observation
Release date:12 November 2018, 06:00
Size:3454 x 3103 px

About the Object

Name:SDSS J1110+6459
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Early Universe : Cosmology : Phenomenon : Lensing
Constellation:Ursa Major
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
1.8 MB
Screensize JPEG
140.4 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
140.5 KB
1280x1024
227.4 KB
1600x1200
336.4 KB
1920x1200
413.8 KB
2048x1536
559.2 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):11 10 14.07
Position (Dec):64° 59' 48.55"
Field of view:2.29 x 2.05 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 94.8° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
C
390 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
Z
1.05 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3
Infrared
H
1.6 μm Hubble Space Telescope
WFC3

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