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Abell 521: A Galaxy Cluster Mash-up
Abell 521


This composite image shows the galaxy cluster Abell 521, located about 2.9 billion light years from Earth. A Chandra X-ray Observatory image, in blue, shows hot gas in the cluster, and an image from the Giant Meterwave Radio Telescope in India shows radio emission in orange. The elongated shape of the X-ray emission shows that the cluster has undergone a violent collision, where another group or cluster of galaxies collided with the main cluster. The radio image shows a bright band of radio emission on the lower left portion of the X-ray gas, which is a separate source. The radio emission in the center of the cluster is bright at the relatively long wavelength of 125 cm (as shown), but is much fainter at shorter wavelengths. This variation in behavior agrees with theoretical predictions for acceleration of particles by turbulent waves generated by a violent collision. More observations with radio telescopes at these long wavelengths may result in the detection of hundreds or even thousands of colliding galaxy clusters.

Fast Facts for Abell 521:
Credit  X-ray (NASA/CXC/INAF/G.Brunetti et al.); Radio (NRAO/NSF/INAF/G.Brunetti et al.)
Release Date  October 15, 2008
Scale  Image is 14.2 arcmin across.
Category  Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA | Dec
Constellation  Eridanus
Observation Date  12/23/1999
Observation Time  11 hours
Obs. ID  901
Instrument  ACIS
Color Code  X-ray (Blue); Radio (Orange)
Radio
X-ray
Distance Estimate  About 2.9 billion light years
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