Best of AOP - Galaxies

Abell 2281

Abell 2218 is a cluster of galaxies located about two billion light-years away. Because it is so massive, Abell 2218 acts as a lens to distant background galaxies. These background galaxies (up to ten billion light-years away) would be impossible to image from our telescopes without the aid of massive galaxy clusters. As the photons from distant background galaxies travel toward Earth, the curvature of spacetime bends them around the galaxy cluster. The mass of the galaxy cluster determines the extent to which the spacetime is warped. Gravitational lenses, such as the ones seen above, are one of the predictions of Albert Einsteinʼs General Theory of Relativity.

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Last Updated: 19-Feb-2014

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Equipment

20in RC Optical Systems telescope Operating at f/8.1

Paramount ME Robotic Telescope Mount

SBIG ST10XME CCD camera with color filter wheel

Luminance = 265 minutes binned 1x1

Red = 0 minutes binned 2x2

Green = 0 minutes binned 2x2

Blue = 0 minutes binned 2x2

Minimum credit line: Jack Harvey/Adam Block/NOAO/AURA/NSF