Images by Date
Images by Category
Solar System
White Dwarfs
Neutron Stars
Black Holes
Milky Way Galaxy
Normal Galaxies
Galaxy Clusters
Cosmology/Deep Field
Images by Interest
Space Scoop for Kids
Sky Map
Photo Blog
Top Rated Images
Image Handouts
Fits Files
Image Tutorials
Photo Album Tutorial
False Color
Cosmic Distance
Look-Back Time
Scale & Distance
Angular Measurement
Images & Processing
Image Use Policy
Web Shortcuts
Chandra Blog
RSS Feed
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
Tour: Stellar Beads on a String
Download Image

More Information

More Images
A2142 - Optical Image with X-ray contours
(Credit: Palomar Digitzed Sky Survey and NASA/CXC/SAO)

More Releases
Abell 2142
Abell 2142
(27 Sep 18)

Related Images
Abell 2125
Abell 2125
(13 Aug 04)
Abell 1795
Abell 1795
(04 Dec 00)
Abell 2142:
Chandra Maps Cosmic Pressure Fronts

Abell 2142

Chandra X-ray Observatory image of the galaxy cluster Abell 2142. The image shows a colossal cosmic "weather system" produced by the collision of two giant clusters of galaxies. For the first time, the pressure fronts in the system can be traced in detail, and they show a bright, but relatively cool 50 million degree central region (white) embedded in large elongated cloud of 70 million degree gas (magenta), all of which is roiling in a faint atmosphere of 100 million degree gas (faint magenta and dark blue). The bright source in the upper left is an active galaxy in the cluster.

Abell 2142 is six million light years across and contains hundreds of galaxies and enough gas to make a thousand more. It is one of the most massive objects in the universe. Galaxy clusters grow to vast sizes as smaller clusters are pulled inward under the influence of gravity. They collide and merge over the course of billions of years, releasing tremendous amounts of energy that heats the cluster gas. The smoothness of the elongated cloud in the Chandra image suggests that these sub-clusters have collided two or three times in a billion years or more, and have nearly completed their merger.

Fast Facts for Abell 2142:
Scale  Image is 7.5 x 7.2 arcmin across.
Category  Groups & Clusters of Galaxies
Coordinates (J2000)  RA 15h 58m 19.80s | Dec +27° 13' 45.00"
Constellation  Corona Borealis
Observation Dates  August 20, 1999
Color Code  Thermal
Instrument  ACIS
Release Date  March 01, 2000