Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
Stars
White Dwarfs
Supernovas
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Quasars
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Miscellaneous
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Multiwavelength
Sky Map
Constellations
3D Wall
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Desktops
High Res Prints
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
AVM/Metadata
Getting Hard Copies
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
Chandra Mobile
Chronicle
Email Newsletter
News & Noteworthy
Image Use Policy
Questions & Answers
Glossary of Terms
Download Guide
Get Adobe Reader
More Information
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
X-ray Astronomy Field Guide
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Questions and Answers
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Chandra Images
Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Related Podcasts
A Tour of Perseus and Virgo Clusters
Download Image

More Information
Handout
Handout: html | pdf

More Images
Optical Image
of 1E 0657-56
(Credit: ESO/NTT/E. Falco & M. Ramella)

More Releases
1E 0657-56
1E 0657-56
(21 Aug 06)

Related Images
Abell 1795
Abell 1795
(04 Dec 00)
Abell 2142
Abell 2142
(01 Mar 00)
1E 0657-56:
A Bow Shock in a Merging Galaxy Cluster


1E 0657-56
Credit: NASA/SAO/CXC/M.Markevitch et al.

Chandra's image of the extremely hot galaxy cluster 1E 0657-56 reveals a bow-shaped shock wave toward the right side of the cluster. This feature, thought to be the result of the merger of a smaller group or sub-cluster of galaxies with 1E 0657-56, gives astronomers a rare opportunity to study how clusters grow.

The shock wave appears to have been formed as 70 million degree Celsius gas in the sub-cluster plowed through 100 million degree gas in the main cluster at a speed of about 6 million miles per hour. This motion created a wind that stripped the cooler gas from the sub-cluster, similar to leaves from a tree being blown off in a storm.

The speed, appearance and shape of the sub-cluster indicates that it would have passed through the core of the larger cluster about 150 million years ago. By the time the gravity of the cluster stops the motion of the sub-cluster, it is likely that the cooler gas will have been totally stripped.

1E 0657-56 is of great interest because it is one of the hottest known clusters. Astronomers hope to use this and future observations to determine if the high temperature of the cluster gas is due to shock waves produced by the merger of many sub-clusters.

Fast Facts for 1E 0657-56:
Credit  NASA/SAO/CXC/M.Markevitch et al.
Scale  Image is 9 arcmin on a side.
Category  Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 06h 58m 37.9s | Dec -55° 57' 00.00"
Constellation  Carina
Observation Dates  October 16, 2000
Observation Time  7 hours
Obs. IDs  554
Color Code  Intensity
Instrument  ACIS
Also Known As The Bullet Cluster
Distance Estimate  3.8 billion light years
Release Date  February 20, 2002