As observed by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, the Abell S1063 galaxy cluster is incredibly bright in high-energy X-ray light1. When neighboring galaxies or clusters of galaxies merge due to gravity, the infalling gases collide. The resulting shock heats the gas, which then emits high-energy X-ray light. The Abell S1063 galaxy cluster’s X-ray brightness is one of the clues that suggests we may actually be observing a major event involving the merging of multiple galaxy clusters.
The Abell catalogue of galaxy clusters was first compiled by astronomer George O. Abell in 1958, with over 2,700 galaxy clusters observable from the Northern Hemisphere. The Abell catalogue was updated in 1989 with galaxy clusters from the Southern Hemisphere.
Estimated Dates of Observations: TBD
The planned dates for Hubble observations of the Frontier Fields include observations approximately six months apart. This is the time it takes for the cameras on Hubble to swap positions so that both visible-light data and infrared-light data can be captured from the galaxy cluster field and the adjacent parallel field, as described in this post.
Galaxy Cluster Redshift: 0.348
Redshift measures the lengthening of a light wave from an object that is moving away from an observer. For example, when a galaxy is traveling away from Earth, its observed wavelength shifts toward the red end of the electromagnetic spectrum. The galaxy cluster’s cosmological redshift refers to a lengthening of a light wave caused by the expansion of the universe. Light waves emitted by a galaxy cluster stretch as they travel through the expanding universe. The greater the redshift, the farther the light has traveled to reach us.
Galaxy Cluster Distance: approximately 4 billion light-years
Galaxy Cluster Field Coordinates (R.A., Dec.): 22:48:44.4, -44:31:48.5
Parallel Field Coordinates (R.A., Dec.):22:49:17.7, -44:32:43.8
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References to science journal articles:
1: X-ray and Optical Observations of the Merging Cluster Abell S1063
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