Tonight's Sky
Sun
Sun
Moon
Moon
Mercury
Mercury
Venus
Venus
Mars
Mars
Jupiter
Jupiter
Saturn
Saturn

Tonight's Sky — Change location

OR

Searching...

Tonight's Sky — Select location

Tonight's Sky — Enter coordinates

° '
° '

Mysterious phenomena in a gigantic galaxy-cluster collision

A new “true color” radio image of Abell 2256 suggests that previously unexpected physical processes are at work in galaxy cluster encounters.
RELATED TOPICS: GALAXIES | GALAXY CLUSTERS
Abell 2256
Abell 2256 in a "true color" radio image made with the VLA.
Owen et al., NRAO/AUI/NSF
Researchers using the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) have produced the most detailed image yet of a fascinating region where clusters of hundreds of galaxies are colliding, creating a rich variety of mysterious phenomena visible only to radio telescopes.

The scientists took advantage of new VLA capabilities to make a “true color” radio image. This image shows the region as it would appear if human eyes were sensitive to radio waves instead of light waves. In this image, red shows where longer radio waves predominate, and blue shows where shorter radio waves predominate, following the pattern we see in visible light.

The image shows a number of strange features the astronomers think are related to an ongoing collision of galaxy clusters. The region is called Abell 2256 and is about 800 million light-years from Earth and some 4 million light-years across. The image covers an area in the sky almost as large as the Full Moon. Studied by astronomers for more than half a century with telescopes ranging from radio to X-ray, Abell 2256 contains a fascinating variety of objects, many of whose exact origins remain unclear.

With monikers such as “Large Relic,” “Halo,” and “Long Tail,” the features in this region are seen in greater fidelity than ever before, said Frazer Owen of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Socorro, New Mexico. “The image reveals details of the interactions between the two merging clusters and suggests that previously unexpected physical processes are at work in such encounters,” he said.
0

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Read and share your comments on this article
Comment on this article
Want to leave a comment?
Only registered members of Astronomy.com are allowed to comment on this article. Registration is FREE and only takes a couple minutes.

Login or Register now.
0 comments
ADVERTISEMENT

FREE EMAIL NEWSLETTER

Receive news, sky-event information, observing tips, and more from Astronomy's weekly email newsletter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
asy_gravitational_eguide

Click here to receive a FREE e-Guide exclusively from Astronomy magazine.

Find us on Facebook