Click to enlargeChandra Pandora’s Cluster, Abell 2744 Photo

Buy this Pandora’s Cluster, Abell 2744 space photo. High quality Chandra picture, slide, or Duratrans backlit transparency. NASA photograph C2011-A2744. Wide variety of sizes. Click to see selection as Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) - June 29, 2011

Abell 2744: A collision of galaxy clusters about 3.5 billion light years away. Image is 6.7 arcmin across (5.9 million light years).

This composite image features one of the most complicated and dramatic collisions between galaxy clusters ever seen. Known officially as Abell 2744, this system has been dubbed “Pandora’s Cluster” because of the wide variety of different structures found.

Data from Chandra (red) show gas with temperatures of millions of degrees. In blue is a map showing the total mass concentration (mostly dark matter) based on data from the Hubble Space Telescope, the Very Large Telescope (VLT), and the Subaru telescope. Optical data from HST and VLT also show the constituent galaxies of the clusters. Astronomers think at least four galaxy clusters coming from a variety of directions are involved with this collision.

Date Released: June 21, 2011
Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/ITA/INAF/J.Merten et al, Lensing: NASA/STScI; NAOJ/Subaru; ESO/VLT, Optical: NASA/STScI/R.Dupke
Chandra X-ray Observatory ACIS Image
CXC operated for NASA by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

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