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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
Animations & Video: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
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Click for high-resolution animation
1. Abell 2597 Animation
QuicktimeMPEG Relics of an ancient eruption in a cluster of galaxies known as A2597 have been found by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. These relics, called "ghost cavities", appear as voids in the X-ray and radio emission. The discovery implies that galaxy clusters are the sites of recurring energetic explosions.
[Runtime: 0:30]
View Stills
(CXC/D.Berry)

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Click for high-resolution animation
2. A Closer Look at Abell 2125
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence shows different views of the galaxy cluster known as Abell 2125. The first image is Chandra's X-ray view where red, green, and blue represent low, medium, and high-energy X-rays respectively. The view then dissolves into an image of Abell 2125's core where red is optical emission, and green and blue reveal the X-ray structure. Finally, the sequence zooms into a close-up of C153, a galaxy that's being ripped apart as it travels through the Abell 2125 cluster. Here, the red color represents visible light as seen by Hubble, and green and blue once again show the X-ray emission observed by Chandra.
[Runtime: 0:13]
(X-ray: NASA/CXC/UMass/Q.D.Wang et al.; Optical: NASA/STScI)

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3. Dissolve from Optical to X-ray View of Fornax
QuicktimeMPEG This sequence begins with a wide-field, visible light view (yellow) of the Fornax galaxy cluster. Next, it zooms into the region Chandra observed in X-rays (blue). Scientists think the core of the cluster, labeled as NGC 1399, is moving to the lower right on a collision course with another group of galaxies seen only in the optical data. This indicates that the cluster lies along a large, unseen, filamentary structure composed mostly of dark matter that is pulling everything toward it. Two other galaxies in the Fornax cluster are labeled: NGC 1404 and NGC 1387.
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(Optical: Pal.Obs. DSS; X-ray: NASA/CXC/Columbia U./C.Scharf et al.)

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Click for high-resolution animation
4. Best of Chandra Images: Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
QuicktimeMPEG Among the most energetic events in the universe is the merger of groups of galaxies to form giant clusters containing thousands of galaxies. Vast, hot, X-ray emitting gas clouds in the clusters show this process in action. This video presents some of the best Chandra observations of groups and clusters of galaxies.
[Runtime: 0:57]
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

Click for high-resolution animation
5. Animation of Galaxy Cluster Merger
QuicktimeMPEG This animation shows a cluster of galaxies cluster form as clumps of dark matter, gas and galaxies are pulled together by gravity to form groups of dozens of galaxies. These groups in turn merge over the course of billions of years to form clusters of hundreds, even thousands of galaxies. As a galaxy cluster is formed, its huge reservoir of hot gas is heated to tens of millions of degrees Celsius and glows brightly in X-rays.
[Runtime: 0:38]
(NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

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Click for high-resolution animation
6. X-ray Distance Measurement Technique
QuicktimeMPEG This series of stills shows the technique used to make distance measurements to galaxy clusters. Chandra's observations are used to determine the ratio of the mass of the hot gas and the mass of the dark matter in different galaxy clusters. This "gas fraction" depends on the assumed distances to the clusters, which in turn depends on the amount of matter and dark energy in the Universe. Because galaxy clusters are extremely large, the gas fraction should be the same for every cluster, and so the distances to the clusters are adjusted to satisfy this requirement. Each of the 3 illustrations shows Chandra in the top left, observing a galaxy cluster, shown in the top right (in red). The relative amounts of hot gas (in red) and dark matter (in blue) are shown at the bottom, with the green marker giving the expected, correct amount. The first illustration shows a gas fraction that is too small, implying that the distance to the cluster is too small, the second shows the correct gas fraction and distance, and the third illustration shows a gas fraction and distance that are too large.
[Runtime: 0:12]
View Stills
(NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

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Click for high-resolution animation
7. Artist's Representation of Sound Waves Preventing a Cooling Flow in Perseus
QuicktimeMPEG This graphic contains a series of three illustrations to show how a "cooling flow" in the Perseus cluster, and the resulting star formation, is prevented by sound waves generated by the central black hole. The hot, X-ray emitting gas that fills the cluster is shown in red. Next, the gas near the center of the cluster radiates energy and cools, which is shown as blue. The third frame shows heating by the sound waves, shown in yellow, preventing further cooling of the gas. This stops the inward flow of gas expected in a cooling flow, preventing new star formation.
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(NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

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8. Artist's Representation of "Cooling Flows" in Galaxy Clusters
QuicktimeMPEG The detection of intergalactic sound waves may solve the long-standing mystery of why the hot gas in the central regions of the Perseus cluster has not cooled over the past ten billion years to form trillions of stars. This graphic contains a series of four illustrations to show how "cooling flows" are expected to affect the structure of galaxy clusters. The hot, X-ray emitting gas that fills the cluster is shown in red. Next, the gas near the center of the cluster radiates energy and cools, which is shown as blue. The resulting inward flow of gas should cause higher densities toward the center of the cluster (brighter blue), and the final frame shows how this is expected to generate prodigious star formation.
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(NASA/CXC/M.Weiss)

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9. The Big Rip
QuicktimeMPEG A third possible future for the Universe is the most exotic of all. As shown in this animation, if dark energy increases with time, the Universe may experience a catastrophic, runaway expansion. Within about a 100 billion years every galaxy, star and atom in the Universe would be ripped apart.
[Runtime: 0:03]
(NASA/STScI/G.Bacon)

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Click for high-resolution animation
10. The Big Crunch
QuicktimeMPEG This animation shows another possible future for the Universe, where dark energy eventually leads to a slowing of the expansion of the Universe, followed by a recollapse, the so-called "big crunch". In some ways this scenario resembles the Big Bang in reverse.
[Runtime: 0:08]
(NASA/STScI/G.Bacon)

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