The very large galaxy cluster 2MASX J05101744-4519179 may be seen in the center of this view from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. This far-off galaxy cluster is a cosmic behemoth that shines brightly in X-rays.
We can learn more about the development and interactions of dark and bright matter in galaxy clusters by observing objects like 2MASX J05101744-4519179. These observations also reveal strong gravitational ‘telescopes’ that use gravitational lensing to enlarge distant objects. Future observations with the Hubble Space Telescope and the NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope may be made possible by knowing where these lenses are. Around 2.6 billion light-years from Earth, in the constellation Pictor, is the cluster 2MASX J05101744-4519179.
This image was produced by a collaboration between the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3) and the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), two of Hubble’s instruments. Both are third-generation devices that provide astronomers researching a variety of scientific issues with excellent image quality and high sensitivity. Although they observe slightly different portions of the electromagnetic spectrum, both telescopes can capture photographs of large sections of the night sky. WFC3 covers the entire spectrum, from ultraviolet to visible and near-infrared light. The vast panchromatic coverage of WFC3 was not present in ACS, which was designed for visible-light studies.
In order to get the most out of Hubble, sensors must use built-in corrective optics to take the effects of the primary mirror’s aberration into account. A malfunctioning tool during Hubble’s construction resulted in the primary mirror being very precisely honed to a form that was just 0.0002 mm off. To adjust for this slight mismatch, a correction instrument called COSTAR was created, and following instruments like WFC3 and ACS were constructed with their own corrective optics.