XMM Newton image of Abell 3266
Credit: Image courtesy of A. Finoguenov, University of Maryland (UMBC); Max-Planck Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik and ESA

Pull of Gravity

A giant gas cloud in the cluster of galaxies behaves like Silly Putty when stretched by gravity. The image above is a mosaic obtained by the XMM-Newton X-ray observatory of the galaxy cluster Abell 3266. Prominent in the center of the image is a giant cloud of X-ray emitting gas in yellow and red. The cluster's gravity distorts the shape of the cloud into an apparent comet. The visible matter in the cluster tries to pull the cloud apart, fighting the dark matter within the cloud trying to hold it together. This "comet" is about about 5 million light-years long and is moving through the galaxy at a speed of about 750 kilometers per second.

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Each week the HEASARC brings you new, exciting and beautiful images from X-ray and Gamma ray astronomy. Check back each week and be sure to check out the HEAPOW archive!

Page Author: Dr. Michael F. Corcoran
Last modified Friday, 20-Apr-2012 15:23:10 EDT