Distant and ancient

Dotted across the sky in the constellation of Pictor (The Painter’s Easel) is the galaxy cluster highlighted here by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope: SPT-CL J0615-5746, or SPT0615 for short. First discovered by the South Pole Telescope less than a decade ago, SPT0615 is exceptional among the myriad clusters so far catalogued in our map of the Universe — it is the highest-redshift cluster for which a full, strong lens model is published.

SPT0615 is a massive cluster of galaxies, one of the farthest observed to cause gravitational lensing. Gravitational lensing occurs when light from a background object is deflected around mass between the object and the observer. Among the identified background objects, there is SPT0615-JD, a galaxy that is thought to have emerged just 500 million years after the Big Bang. This puts it among the very earliest structures to form in the Universe. It is also the farthest galaxy ever imaged by means of gravitational lensing.

Just as ancient paintings can tell us about the period of history in which they were painted, so too can ancient galaxies tell us about the era of the Universe in which they existed. To learn about cosmological history, astronomers explore the most distant reaches of the Universe, probing ever further out into the cosmos. The light from distant objects travels to us from so far away that it takes an immensely long time to reach us, meaning that it carries information from the past — information about the time at which it was emitted.

By studying such distant objects, astronomers are continuing to fill the gaps in our picture of what the very early Universe looked like, and uncover more about how it evolved into its current state.

Credit:

ESA/Hubble & NASA, I. Karachentsev et al., F. High et al.

About the Image

Id:potw1918a
Type:Observation
Release date:6 May 2019, 06:00
Size:3916 x 3871 px

About the Object

Name:SPT0615-JD, SPT-CL J0615-5746
Type:Early Universe : Galaxy : Grouping : Cluster
Constellation:Pictor
Category:Galaxies

Image Formats

Large JPEG
3.4 MB
Screensize JPEG
179.7 KB

Zoomable


Wallpapers

1024x768
171.7 KB
1280x1024
273.9 KB
1600x1200
409.8 KB
1920x1200
512.8 KB
2048x1536
698.3 KB

Coordinates

Position (RA):6 15 49.85
Position (Dec):-57° 46' 39.88"
Field of view:3.26 x 3.23 arcminutes
Orientation:North is 25.7° right of vertical

Colours & filters

BandWavelengthTelescope
Optical
B
435 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
V
606 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS
Optical
I
814 nm Hubble Space Telescope
ACS

Also see our


Accelerated by CDN77