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Abell 2125: Chandra Catches Early Phase of Cosmic Assembly (A massive galaxy cluster about 3 billion light years from Earth.)

Description: Chandra's image reveals a complex of several multimillion degree Celsius gas clouds in the process of merging to form a massive galaxy cluster. A few of the point-like sources in the image are associated with galaxies in the cluster, but the rest are probably distant background galaxies, many of which contain active supermassive black holes. The bright gas cloud on the upper left is the core of the cluster and envelops hundreds of galaxies. The large cloud on the lower right envelops hundreds of galaxies and has a much lower concentration of iron atoms than the core. It is thought that this cloud has not been enriched by the stripping of iron-rich gas from its member galaxies because it has yet to fall into the core cluster. Observations of Abell 2125 provide a rare glimpse into the early steps in the process of building one of the most massive objects in the universe.


Creator/Photographer: Chandra X-ray Observatory


NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, which was launched and deployed by Space Shuttle Columbia on July 23, 1999, is the most sophisticated X-ray observatory built to date. The mirrors on Chandra are the largest, most precisely shaped and aligned, and smoothest mirrors ever constructed. Chandra is helping scientists better understand the hot, turbulent regions of space and answer fundamental questions about origin, evolution, and destiny of the Universe. The images Chandra makes are twenty-five times sharper than the best previous X-ray telescope. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., manages the Chandra program for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory controls Chandra science and flight operations from the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Medium: Chandra telescope x-ray


Date: 2001


Persistent URL:


Repository: Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory


Collection: Groups and Clusters of Galaxies Collection


Gift line: NASA/CXC/UMass/Q.D.Wang et al.


Accession number: abell2125

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Taken on September 30, 2008