Galaxies long ago and far, far away stars in a beautiful Hubble-view

This new Hubble view includes a distant galaxy cluster called Abell 370. It also captures a host of cosmic objects that are magnified by the strong gravity of the cluster.

(NASA, ESA/Hubble, HST Frontier Fields)

A remarkable new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope captures a close-up view of some of the earliest and most distant galaxies of the universe.

The photo — taken as part of a new mission called Beyond Ultra-Deep Frontier Fields And old Observations (BUFFALO) — features a massive cluster called Abell 370, which is located about 5 billion light-years from Earth. This cluster acts as a cosmic magnifying glass, honing in on distant objects in the universe.

Hubble is able to detect these otherwise weak, distant objects, because the gravity of massive clusters such as Abell 370 bends and magnifies the light from distant objects in the background — a natural phenomenon is also known as strong gravitational lensing. [Wow! Hubble Snaps Super-Deep View of Universe (Photos)]

The new Hubble image revealed many galaxies far beyond Abell 370. It is also included a function that the nickname “the Dragon”, which can be seen just below the centre of the cluster. This feature actually consists of multiple duplicated pictures of a single background spiral galaxy, the milky way stretched out along an arc, according to a statement from the Hubble Space Telescope.

More Of

  • Wow! Hubble Snaps Super-Deep View of Universe (Photos)

  • Abell 370

  • Frontier Fields program

  • James Webb Space Telescope

As part of the BUFFALO survey, the Hubble telescope is observing six massive galaxy clusters and their surroundings. The new data will help astronomers learn more about the evolution of the earliest galaxies in the universe.

This project is the successor of the Frontier Fields program, which ran from 2013 to 2017. During that program, Hubble examined six distinctive clusters, all showed effects of strong gravitational lensing, according to the statement.

Following its predecessor, the performance, the BUFFALO will be investigated how and when the most massive and bright galaxies in the universe formed, as well as the link between dark matter and galaxies formed in the first 800 million years after the Big Bang.

“Driven by the Frontier Fields observations, BUFFALO will be able to detect the most distant galaxies are about 10 times better than its ancestor”, the statement said. “The BUFFALO research will also benefit from other space telescopes have already noted that the regions around the clusters. These datasets will be included in the search for the first galaxies.”

Data from the BUFFALO project will also benefit future missions such as NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which is scheduled for launch in 2021 and will be replaced by the Hubble telescope.

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