Beautiful Science

The Nasa/ESA Hubble Telescope has peered across six billion light-years of space to resolve features of the galaxy cluster Abell 370 (above) never seen before. Abell 370 is part of the Frontier Fields programme, which uses massive galaxy clusters to
PHOTO: NASA, ESA/HUBBLE, HST FRONTIER FIELDS

The Nasa/ESA Hubble Telescope has peered across six billion light-years of space to resolve features of the galaxy cluster Abell 370 (above) never seen before. Abell 370 is part of the Frontier Fields programme, which uses massive galaxy clusters to study the mysteries of dark matter and the very early Universe. Six billion light-years away in the constellation Cetus (the Sea Monster), Abell 370 is made up of hundreds of galaxies, said the ESA/Hubble Information Centre in a statement. Its enormous gravitational influence warps the shape of spacetime around it, causing the light of background galaxies to spread out along multiple paths and appear both distorted and magnified.This image was captured as part of the Frontier Fields programme, which used 630 hours of Hubble observing time, over 560 orbits of the Earth. Six clusters of galaxies were imaged in detail, including Abell 370 - the last to be finished. The Frontier Fields programme produced the deepest observations made of galaxy clusters and the magnified galaxies behind them, said the statement, adding that these observations are helping astronomers to understand how stars and galaxies emerged out of the dark ages of the Universe, when space was dark, opaque and filled with hydrogen.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2017, with the headline 'Beautiful Science'. Print Edition | Subscribe